Keyless Ignition Carbon Monoxide

Keyless ignitions expose the public to carbon monoxide poisoning injuries and deaths that should be fixed by the automotive industry.

Recently, I have read about an alarming number of people being injured or killed by carbon monoxide poisoning.  Many of these accidents involve “Keyless Go” cars that have been left running in a person’s garage, due to the driver having forgotten to turn off the ignition before exiting the car.  This is certainly a user error, but it is brought about because the operator no longer needs to put a car key into an ignition to turn the car on or off.  This is the result of the of the Keyless Go systems, which are “conveniently dangerous.”

The presence of the key fob inside the passenger compartment sends a signal to the car computer system, allowing the push of a button to turn the car on.  However, the engine will remain engaged even if the key fob is removed from the passenger compartment.  The car will continue running until it is out of fuel.  This is especially risky in an enclosed garage, which can fill up with carbon monoxide and flood an attached home.  The illogical situation is unreasonably dangerous.

Worse yet, the automotive industry knows about this danger.


Furthermore, the capability of fixing the deadly situation is already installed in almost every car that has a Keyless Go system.  Our cars are so “smart” that they know if a person is sitting in the driver or passenger seat.  The vehicle senses that the seat is occupied because of pressure sensors installed in the seat cushions.  Thus, if an occupant forgets to fasten their seatbelt, the car will set off an alarm when you begin to drive.

This same technology could certainly be used by the automotive industry to shut off the vehicle engine after 10 minutes of run time when the vehicle is not occupied – eliminating the risk of dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.  Now Eco Smart technology is being used by some manufacturers to shutoff the engine after ten minutes to save fuel.  This technology can also save lives!  An override could easily be installed to allow the vehicle to continue to run if it was the intention of the operator. Alternatively or additionally, a carbon monoxide sensor could be installed on the outside of the vehicle, away from the tailpipe, to send a signal to the vehicle’s computer to automatically shut off a vehicle if it is stationary for more than 10 minutes, unoccupied, and a dangerous level of carbon monoxide has built up.

These simple, easy, and cost-effective fixes could save lives.  In many instances, a software update to the onboard computer system could be installed by a dealership at a routine maintenance visit. The automotive industry knows that user error associated with the convenience of their Keyless Go system is injuring and killing their customers.  If the automotive industry does not fix the dangerous defects in their present system, this problem will only increase in the future, as more and more cars are equipped with Keyless Go technology and our population gets older and more forgetful.

In the meantime, homeowners should install a carbon monoxide sensor in their home near the door to your garage if you park your car in the garage.  Personally, I have one immediately inside my home – by the door that leads to my garage.  This is an important safeguard against carbon monoxide: A colorless, odorless killer produced by every automobile that has an internal combustion engine.