Bloomberg News reports that a lawsuit was filed in a Los Angeles federal court by consumers against ten of the world’s largest car producers, including Toyota, Ford, Nissan, and Honda, for knowing and failing to fix keyless ignitions lacking automatic shut-off, potentially killing passengers with carbon monoxide fumes. According to Erik Gordan, a law professor, “If there is any merit to the claim, NHTSA will jump in and push for a recall.” Reuters reports there have been 13 deaths in the US as a result of keyless ignitions.
The Scripps Howard News Service adds that the federal response to the issue of keyless ignitions has been slow. According to a NHTSA document uncovered by Scripps News, the agency did not ask its Special Crash Investigations team to look into the incidents until 2012, after the seventh person died because of the keyless ignition. Following its investigation, NHTSA proposed requiring a louder alert, “of at least 85 decibels if the key fob is removed from a car while its engine is running.” Many automakers argued against the proposal. Scripps notes that NHTSA said it considered an auto shut-down feature in its 2011 proposal but “there are scenarios, such as leaving pets in the vehicle with the air conditioning or heating system on while the driver shops or is at a restaurant, where an automatic shut-off of the propulsion system would have adverse results.”
From the news release of the American Association for Justice.