TAMPA, Fla. — After 10Investigates Jennifer Titus' report "Silent Killer" on the dangers of keyless ignitions, congress is now taking action to find a solution for the issue.

In 2018, Titus found 17 people across Florida died from carbon monoxide poisoning after their keyless ignition vehicles were accidentally left running. She found many of the vehicles will continue to run even if the key fob is removed from the car.

Currently, there is no federal regulation keyless ignition. The NTHSA introduced a draft rule in 2011, but it was never finalized.

Democrats introduce legislation

On February 22, Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut introduced the "PARK IT" Act, which stands for "Protecting Americans from the Risks of Keyless Ignition Technology." If passed, the bill would require vehicles to automatically shut off after a certain length of time.

“NHTSA’s inexplicable failure to act has led to fatal consequences,” said Blumenthal, a Democrat. “This legislation will require NHTSA to do what it should have done nearly eight years ago— protect American drivers and families from injury and death by finalizing some basic safety standards that compel automakers to address the risk of carbon monoxide and rollaways associated with keyless ignitions.”

“NHTSA, our automobile safety cop on the beat, must ensure that novel transportation technologies help eradicate the auto safety challenges of the 20th century, not pose additional dangers in the 21st century,” said U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a co-sponsor of the legislation. “With deaths attributable to keyless ignitions mounting, it’s time for NHTSA to set safety standards to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and vehicle rollaways.”

You can track the bill's progress here. 

Automakers respond

10Investigates reached out to automakers for their response to the legislation and also the Auto Alliance, which issued the following statement:

“Current keyless ignition system designs generally follow the recommended practices of the Society of Automotive Engineers, addressing operating logic, indication of vehicle ignition/control status and the physical control characteristics of keyless ignition systems. SAE recommendations also focus on uniform labeling to help provide consumers with a better understanding of how keyless systems function.”

  • GM: “General Motors thanks Senator Blumenthal for his leadership and supports the spirit of the PARK IT Act. This legislation reflects GM’s continued dedication to advancing automotive safety as evidenced with the implementation of our “Extended Parking” and “Electronic Precision Shift” technologies on many Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models.  We look forward to working with the Senator to advance automotive safety.”
  • Hyundai: “We are reviewing and discussing internally before making any public comment”
  • Nissan/INFINITI: Directed us to the Auto Alliance Statement
  • Fiat/Chrysler: Directed us to the Auto Alliance Statement
  • Toyota: Directed us to the Auto Alliance Statement
  • Honda: Haven’t heard from.
  • Ford: Haven’t heard from.
  • Kia: Haven’t heard from.

Keyless ignition by manufacturer

Many auto manufacturers have implemented their own safeguards in newer vehicles. Below is a breakdown:

Honda/Acura: 

  • All keyless start vehicles have an alarm built in
  • No shutoff

GM:

  • All keyless start vehicles have an alarm built in
  • Starting with 2014, vehicles with push start will shut off after a certain period of time (usually an hour)

Ford/Lincoln:

  • Many vehicles with keyless ignition have a feature that shuts down the engine after 30 minutes of inactivity if the key fob is inside or outside the vehicle

Toyota/Lexus:

  • All keyless start vehicles have an alarm built in
  • No automatic shutoff

Chrysler/Jeep/Fiat

  • Offer both features -- alerts/warnings and auto shutoff

Nissan/Infiniti:

  • Audible and visual alerts when a driver removes the key fob from the vehicle while the engine is running or in accessory mode
  • No automatic shutoff

Hyundai:

  • All keyless start vehicles have an alarm and display on the dashboard if the key is not in the vehicle

Kia:

  • All keyless start vehicles have an alarm if the key is not with the vehicle
  • 2017-2019 model Niro Hybrid and Niro Plug-in Electric will shut off after two hours

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