WASHINGTON -- New Senate legislation introduced Friday aims to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and rollaway accidents in vehicles with keyless push-button start.
The proposal by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Edward Markey, D-Mass., would force NHTSA to issue regulations requiring automatic shut-off features and set a performance standard for powering down a vehicle when it's not in park mode. They say the nation's top auto safety agency has dragged its feet addressing the problem and that automakers have not done enough to protect consumers.
Last May, a New York Times investigation identified 28 fatalities and 45 injuries since 2006 connected to carbon monoxide from keyless-ignition vehicles left running in a home garage. Smart-key technologies are standard equipment on 62 percent of new vehicles, according to consumer information website Edmunds.
The car recognizes a fob transmitting a radio-frequency ID signal when close by, allowing the doors to be opened and the car started with the push of a button. Because of quieter engines and no physical key, many people forget to shut off the engine or try to stop the engine while still in drive or neutral mode.