Lawsuit Alleges Keyless System in Millions of Vehicles Can Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


January 08, 2016

While most people are well aware that defective motor vehicles can pose a serious danger, they might assume the vehicle needs to be traveling on a roadway to endanger occupants. Although issues like a loss of steering control, faulty airbags, or ignition switches that suddenly rotate to the off position have dominated the news in recent times, new technology can mean new types of hazards. Vehicles with a keyless entry feature have been viewed as offering convenience and reducing the risk of being stranded if a motorist's keys are misplaced or locked in their vehicle. However, a lawsuit that has recently been filed in Los Angeles Federal Court alleges there have been at least 13 reported fatalities from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by keyless entry systems installed in vehicles manufactured by Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, GM, BMW, Kia, Hyundai, Bentley, and Volkswagen according to an ABC News report.

News sources report that the lawsuit claims that the keyless entry system should have resulted in the recall of millions of vehicles because the vehicles do not turn off automatically when a driver neglects to push the start/stop button. The allegedly defective keyless entry system is being called faulty because occupants can be overcome by carbon monoxide if they fail to push the button to manually turn of the motor. According to the complaint, "reasonable drivers mistakenly believe that removing the Keyless Fob from the vehicle shuts down the engine. The vehicles enable drivers to turn on the motor without inserting a key into the ignition. Instead, drivers simply push an on/off switch. When the motorist reaches his or her destination the button must be manually pushed again to turn off the engine.

The product liability lawsuit also alleges that the vehicle manufacturers knew or should have known of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning without an automatic turn off feature. The manufacturers allegedly should have been aware of the defect according to ABC News because of multiple reports about the problem to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The plaintiffs also claim that the issue could have been corrected inexpensively by installing a low cost mechanism that automatically turns the motor off when the car is left unattended.

Additional evidence that manufacturers should have been aware of the problem is provided by the fact that Ford and GM submitted patent requests to repair the problem in 2009. Automakers generally read patent requests submitted by other vehicle manufacturers, so other manufacturers allegedly should have known based on the applications submitted by Ford and GM. Media reports indicate that auto-off features and alarms were installed by some manufacturers on certain vehicles, but these steps were not accompanied by a recall of vehicles on the road with the keyless ignition issue. An inexpensive software update could have eliminated the problem according to court documents. There have been other lawsuits brought over this same issue which include some that have already reached a settlement.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Experience to Work For Your Claim

If you have been injured because of a defective keyless entry system or other vehicle defect, our Atlanta Defective Vehicle Lawyers at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, explain our clients' options while aggressively pursuing a desirable recovery. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries in Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.