Deaths in Florida and New York Thought to Be Linked to Keyless Ignition Malfunctions

Three deaths in two states, New York and Florida, are believed to have been linked to keyless ignition malfunctions.  There have also been numerous reports of accidents related to keyless ignitions.

Mary Rivera, who lives in New York, suffered permanent brain damage after her 2008 Lexus continued to run after she and her long-time partner, Ernie Codelia, exited the car and went inside their home.  Due to the quietness of the car, Rivera did not realize it was still running, emitting carbon dioxide in to the garage and eventually in to the home.  Her partner did not survive.

Rivera filed a lawsuit that claims that the technology used with “fobs” as they are commonly called does not contain sufficient warning features to have prevented her from leaving her car running by accident.

According to Edmunds Auto Observer, today’s car engines are smoother and quieter.  Many people are not used to being able to start or shut off a car without actually inserting or removing a key.  When people begin using these keyless ignition systems that are supposed to work by the driver pushing the “stop/start” button, they do not take the time to make certain that the engine in fact did shut off.  This is understandable, because it should shut off when the button is pushed.  This can lead to potentially dangerous and deadly situations, such as carbon monoxide poisoning.  Some problems actually are driver related, as people (especially older individuals) have problems adapting to technology.  That being said, there also appears to be a few technological glitches with some keyless ignition systems.

The NHTSA has noted several complaints regarding problems linked to keyless starts.  Some consumers report loss of engine power while driving, which seems to suggest that the car’s computer believes the key fob is not present when it actually is.  Others have said that their cars have begun rolling after the engine was shut off when the car was in reverse or drive.

Today, the increase of vehicle models equipped with keyless starts in substantial; over a five year time span, models offering keyless start features rose from 40 to 163.

While many of the problems with keyless starts are due to the driver not being familiar with these technological advancements, it is easy to see how cars equipped with this technology could put drivers at risk.  Computes are not infallible, and the same can be said for keyless starts since they work in conjunction with the car’s computer system.  There may be more product liability lawsuits in the future due to this “advancement” that makes our lives easier today.

Brown Chiari is a dedicated team of Buffalo New York defective products attorneys.

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