Representing Victims of Keyless Ignition Systems
Kreindler represents people killed or injured by vehicles equipped with push button ignition technology which does not require that a physical key be inserted into an ignition in order to start a car.
Deaths are happening and they're not being prevented because of some failure in the administration.
“Keyless” technology is becoming increasingly popular in cars sold in the United States. Most auto manufacturers now offer keyless entry and starting. Toyota has the Smart Key system. Lexus has Smart Access. Ford Motor Company calls it Intelligent Access. Nissan calls theirs Intelligent Key. BMW has Comfort Access. Audi uses Advanced Key. The General Motors system is Passive Entry Passive Start. Hyundai offers the Proximity Key on many models. Mercedes offers Keyless Go in most of its models. Volkswagen selected the acronym KESSY for Keyless Entry Start and Exit System.
There are specific and well known dangers associated with this new technology. Auto manufacturers are ignoring the risks as more and more cars roll off production lines and into the hands of unsuspecting consumers.
Because the electronic key fob never leaves one’s pocket or purse, there have been carbon monoxide related deaths and injuries reported when cars either failed to shut down or were accidentally left running when the driver and key fob left the vehicle. Likewise, vehicles are being left in gear after the driver leaves with the fob, allowing cars to roll and cause severe injuries and property damage.
Our investigation into these cases has disclosed not only fundamental safety flaws, but possible violations of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), section 114, which prohibits key removal when vehicles are running or in gear. The provisions of FMVSS are intended to prevent vehicle theft and the unintended rolling of unoccupied vehicles. Two specific provisions of section 114 are commonly known to all drivers. One requires that an automatic transmission vehicle must be placed in the “park” position before the key can be removed from the vehicle. This prevents vehicles from accidentally being left in “drive” and rolling after the driver exits. The other provision requires that a vehicle cannot be operated after the key is removed from the starting system. These are both common sense and effective solutions to common safety hazards.
In contrast, most smart key system designs allow an engine to run indefinitely after the key fob is removed from the vehicle and leaves the transmittal range. The car can be driven until is runs out of gas, provided it is not shut down. Likewise, a car can be shut down while still in the “drive” position and the key fob removed from the range of the vehicle, making the vehicle susceptible to unintended rolling.
The electronic key fob is operable without ever leaving the pocket or purse. The result? Carbon monoxide related deaths and injuries reported when cars either failed to shut down or were accidentally left running when the driver and key fob left the vehicle. Likewise, vehicles are inadvertently being left in gear after the driver leaves with the fob, allowing cars to roll and causing severe injuries and property damage.
Partner Noah Kushlefsky is calling on the federal government to require automakers to implement safety features like an auto shut-off. He has sued Toyota three times on behalf of plaintiffs where the automaker agreed to a confidential settlement in each case.
One of the cases against Toyota was on behalf of a former Fordham University professor and her boyfriend. She suffered brain damage and her boyfriend was killed as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a 2008 Lexus. The New York couple came home from dinner, parked the car in the garage and, mistakenly thinking they had turned the car off, went upstairs and went to bed. A relative found them in the morning, one dead and one unconscious, as a result of the Toyota sitting in the garage overnight, quietly running, sending odorless, colorless toxic fumes into their home.
Kreindler is compiling a database of accidents and incidents related to keyless ignition systems.
If you have experienced any issues with your keyless ignition vehicle, even incidents that have no led to injury, please contact us.