The Potential Dangers of Push-Button Start Ignitions


October 30, 2017

Georgia Product Liability Attorney Discusses the Potential Dangers of Push-Button Start Ignitions

Car manufacturers continuously use new advanced technology to make a car that they feel is safer and more convenient for the driver.  A “convenience” that many cars now have is a push-button start ignition.  This type of ignition allows the driver to hold the key in his or her pocket, and start the car by simply pushing a button after getting into the car.  Unbeknownst to many drivers, they may get out of their car and forget to push the button to turn the car off.  In some situations, a car may not even sound like it is turned on, especially with hybrids.

Recently, there have been reported deaths associated with accidental carbon monoxide poisoning that has been linked to push-button start vehicles.  A class-action lawsuit filed in California alleges that car manufacturers have known about this problem, and failed to implement audible alerts that drivers could hear from outside the car.  There are some cars today with push-button start ignitions that do in fact have an audible warning, but there are still many that do not.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) is aware of the problem associated with these push-button start vehicles and has tried to implement regulations to address the issue.  However, many car manufacturers have pushed back saying that requiring an audible warning would be distracting and annoying for drivers.  Some people have suggested that cars should automatically shut off after a certain period of time such as thirty minutes, for example.  However, the problem with this option is that a car may need to be running for more than thirty minutes if a pet is inside the car and needs air conditioning or heat.

Anyone who suffers an injury or has tragically lost a family member because of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning associated with a push-button start vehicle may rightfully have a valid legal claim against the manufacturer of that vehicle.  Only time will tell how the current lawsuits go, but at this time, it is still early on, and until new rules and regulations are in place to find a way to prevent such accidents from happening, accidental deaths may continue to happen in the future.  Convenience can be a good thing, but it can also be detrimental when safety measures are left out of the equation.  If small changes can save lives, such as creating an audible warning for drivers with a push-button start ignition, then the “annoyance” factor associated with this safety feature may be worth it.

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Source: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/hidden-dangers-of-push-button-start

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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Atlanta, GA 30329
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Category: Personal Injury

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