By on May 14, 2018

Image: public domain

It’s a minor annoyance when you’re taking exterior photos of a car in a public place. You leap out to take that perfect shot, leaving the engine running, and no sooner have you walked a couple of paces when the vehicle emits a loud, obnoxious beep. Or perhaps a few. Everyone looks in your direction.

That’s a safety feature, as the car’s key fob rests safely in your pocket at that particular moment. The car isn’t sure what you’re up to — it just knows you left the vehicle running, and that could be a bad thing. While it’s an annoyance for a photographer, it’s there to prevent unpleasant incidents, including death by carbon monoxide exposure.

With push-button ignitions now present in half of new vehicles, safety groups continue pressing for an industry-wide solution to a problem we’ve known about for years: drivers inadvertently leaving their vehicles running in the garage.

The most recent look at the issue comes from The New York Times, which details the 28 deaths and 45 injuries attributed to accidental carbon monoxide exposure stemming from pushbutton-equipped vehicles left running while parked indoors. As no one keeps official track of these incidents, the paper cobbled them together from news reports dating back to 2006.

This story keeps cropping up because measures designed to prevent the deaths are piecemeal. And, in some cases, insufficient — according to those advocates. In 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration added a new rule mandating that push-button vehicles emit a warning to alert the driver before he or she leaves the vehicle running unattended.

While the NYT doesn’t go into great detail in describing the latest safety measures taken by each of the 17 automakers it contacted, it singles out Toyota and its Lexus luxury division for its involvement in nearly half of all known fatalities since 2006. Ford gets kudos for offering a system that shuts down the engine 30 minutes after the fob leaves the car.

Still, the measures vary by automaker, and sometimes among vehicles of the same make. Frankly, it’s a feature almost no one talks about. GM’s Back Seat Reminder, a feature designed to prevent the deaths of children accidentally left in hot cars, got plenty of press when it hit the market in 2017. “Engine on” reminders did not, and do not.

While Toyota wrote that its system “meets or exceeds all relevant federal safety standards,” a past lawsuit reveals engineers pressed for greater safety measures. Three short beeps upon leaving the car (with one heard inside) was not sufficient, they claimed, but the company overruled any changes.

The Times piece details the grim aftermath of incidents dating back to the middle of last decade, all the way up to 2015.

What’s made the issue such a longstanding one is the continued lack of an industry-wide standard. In 2011, the Society of Automotive Engineers pressed the NHTSA to mandate a more agressive series of audible and visual warnings or, even better, an auto-shutdown feature. Soon after, the NHTSA issued a proposal calling for more beeps, but it never made it into law. An investigation into seven manufacturers didn’t result in any concrete action, either.

Since then, automakers have charted their own course, deciding for themselves whether their systems are sufficient. All the while, safety groups have pressed the NHTSA to enact new standards.

Responding to a query in March, the agency stated, “Once N.H.T.S.A. has finished its review and determined the best path forward, N.H.T.S.A. will take appropriate action.”

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113 Comments on “As Deaths Climb, Safety Advocates Want Renewed Action on Push-button Ignition Danger...”


  • avatar

    From my point of view, knowing that anything can be hacked, I thought it was totally negligent to ever delete the mechanical key in the first place. Having BOTH a sophisticated chip AND a mechanical key for the ignition is by far safer from any point of view.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      That’s one thing I like about my old Elan. A seperate key for the ignition, a key for the glove box, a key for the door and a key for the trunk. The more keys the better.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …conversely, i’ve always felt the keyswitch in my elise was redundant and cumbersome: i’d much prefer a safety toggle adjacent to the start button…keys just get in the way, especially in small cabins; after growing up in an american-iron household, my first experience with a single-key japanese car felt like a revelation in usability…

        …i don’t mind the persistent warning beeps in my wife’s keyless MX5; if we need to leave the engine running while she’s out of the car, we just toss her keychain fob into the seat until we’re done, nearly impossible to accidentally leave the car running that way…

    • 0 avatar
      jmo2

      One of the regulatory proposals was to set the cars to turn off after idling for 30 min. It was expected to cost the global auto industry a total of $500,000 to code that fix. The automakers fought it? I can’t understand why.

      • 0 avatar
        masterofnone

        Maybe 30 minutes is the default setting, 99% would never change it. I often travel with my dog. Super behaved in the car, and I can leave him in it if I have to stop. I’ll take the fob, lock the doors with engine and A/C on. Usually less than 30 minutes, but just in case.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Automatically shutting the car off after the key is no longer around seems to be the logical solution. But what if you just leave the key in the car? That defeats any and all safety features. Why not just put carbon monoxide detector in the car itself and rig it to shut the car off once levels get too high?

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Instead of a push button, the industry should have continued with a (smart) dummy key crank that doesn’t need a key inserted. Everyone is familiar with the motion and there’s no ambiguity on how to stop the engine (long press or double press?).

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Because a carbon monoxide would cost $5 and when a car company is building millions of cars… Or something like that.

      I figure the push button ignition is another step towards autonomous cars. An autonomous car can’t turn a key switch but it can send a signal to a transistor that begins the startup procedure just like pushing the button does.

      The same thing with automatic braking or electric steering. A computer can interact with those things.

      The early adopters of vehicles with advanced safety systems paid the premium for the technology. They paid for the development of it and for that beta period when the parts suppliers were sorting out the design and the manufacturing process.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    Not to sound cold (or logical) but 28 deaths and 45 injuries over the span of 10 years seems only to represent personal tragedies for those victims’ families and friends, and not a matter of great national concern in dire need of immediate regulatory intervention.

    • 0 avatar
      danapellerin

      My thoughts exactly. And It seems to me you really have to not be paying attention to walk away from a running car. I really wonder how many people do this with physical keys.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        One incident involved an older woman removing her groceries from the car when she heard the house phone ring. She ran in to answer it and forgot all about the car.

        • 0 avatar

          “One incident involved an older woman removing her groceries from the car when she heard the house phone ring. She ran in to answer it and forgot all about the car.”

          Why do you need engine running when removing groceries from the trunk? Having engine run idle is a traffic violation in Germany and for the good reason.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            To complete the story, it was idling in her garage. I don’t know why she did that — I’m not defending her, just reporting.

            The really sad part was that she had a tenant who lived above the garage and he died of CO poisoning.

          • 0 avatar

            Germans learned hard way that running gas engines in idle leads to genocide.

          • 0 avatar
            vb9594

            InsideLookingOut:

            Your comment about the Germans using engines for genocide was neither funny or clever, and was in bad taste.

            You should apologize.

        • 0 avatar
          Kendahl

          My wife and I unload groceries from our car(s) every week. We ALWAYS turn off the engine first whether it’s a key or a push button.

          I’ve never understood this compulsion to drop everything, no matter how important and time critical, to answer the telephone. If the call is important, they will leave a message. If it’s a spammer or scammer, you don’t want to talk to them anyway. I have visions of someone in the midst of performing CPR telling the patient, “I’m sorry but I’m going to have to let you die. The phone’s ringing.”

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Wouldn’t she do that even if it had a physical key, too?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “As no one keeps official track of these incidents, the paper cobbled them together from news reports dating back to 2006.”

        The stats listed are just from a newspaper search. Not all CO poisoning would make it to the newspaper.

        Carbon monoxide poisoning isn’t a car crash/accident so it typically would not be reported in motor-vehicle accident statistics or associated vehicle insurance claims. It might not be recorded or reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under your typical vehicle flaw/recall system.
        It might be reported as a crime statistic or suicide statistic. It can fall under health insurance records or life insurance records.

      • 0 avatar
        Boff

        When I was a kid I got a call late one afternoon from the police. My mother’s car had been found running in the commuter train parking lot. It seems my mother had driven her car to the train station, parked it, got out of the car and boarded the train without turning off the car, removing the keys, or locking the door. It sat there and idled all day. 1984 Chev Celebrity. I guess the message is that humans can bungle using any contraption, no matter how idiot-proof. At what point do we blame the manufacturers versus the users?

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          Yep, I got out of my car to grab carryout food. Left it running and locked the door. DUH! Had to wait until my buddy brought me a slim-jim to open it up so it idled for about 40 minutes. It was good and warm inside when I finally drove away.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      you’re right. 28 deaths is personal tragedy. Million deaths would make a statistic.

      I believe there were even less incidents that forced rear view camera. But I can’t complain. Parallel parking in the city is much easier with camera on board.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Seeing that lightning strikes is often the yardstick for these things; more people die from lightning strikes.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        I think the concern is that there is an *increase* in these kinds of deaths due to the start/stop button. It’s a sensible to try to address this problem, small as it may be. Personally, I prefer a key, and apparently, so did Benjamin Franklin. :)

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Thank you.

      I also don’t see why I have to buy a new car with a mandatory backup camera because some thoughtless dad backed over his kid.

      Couldn’t possibly have been HIS fault, oh no.

      See, I have four things that keep me out of trouble when I’m behind the wheel.

      1 – Eyes.

      2 – A head that can swivel around.

      3 – Situational awareness.

      4 – A belief that It CAN Happen To Me, so I do what I can to avoid problems by paying attention.

      It’s worked pretty well for going on two decades now.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Re: backup camera

        The story I read was the parent was a harried medical professional responding to an emergency call. He or she did a head count in the house and “knew” all the kids were inside. Turned out one head was a visiting friend, and his or her child was playing in the driveway.

        This is not unlike the scene from the movie “Home Alone” and it would have been funny if it didn’t end with the child’s head crushed beneath the tire of an SUV.

        On a less horrible note, a Miata parked opposite an SUV has a statistically higher than average chance of getting dinged. Turns out the SUV driver doesn’t see the Miata as he or she backs out.

        My point is the life, or car, the backup camera saves can be someone else’s.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        Wait, because you, personally, haven’t run over any small children in your 20 years, it is therefore impossible to do so if one is paying attention?

        That’s some fascinating logic there.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        @OneAlpha,

        I’m guessing you drive a smaller vehicle.

        I drive a crew cab pickup and I find the backup camera to have plenty of value. Its AMAZING for lining your hitch up with a trailer, takes the guesswork right out of it and its also helpful when reversing the trailer, giving you a view you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Necessary? No. But it does eliminate some guesswork. There’s other benefits too. In a lot with angle parking you’re basically reversing half-blind in something as long as a crew cab truck. Not with a camera, you can easily see if any vehicles are approaching down the aisle. Just a few other benefits besides the silly don’t run over your kid thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I mean, I’m for not mandating things, and also for always having a rear camera in every car I can have one it.

        (I have eyes and a head that swivels. Too bad that won’t let me see through solid objects, so I’m basically guessing and praying when backing up my F250 if I have cargo in the enclosed bed [as I almost always do if driving it].

        Or, rather, I would be *if I hadn’t put a camera in*.

        It fairly regularly, when on the road, keeps me from accidentally hitting suicidal pedestrians at rest stops who seem to think that the giant pickup with a canopy, with the engine on, in reverse, is something to *rapidly cut across the path of*, because evidently *they’re goddamn immortal*.

        They can’t *tell* I have a camera, after all…)

      • 0 avatar
        road_pizza

        #3 should be #1 IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      “You wouldn’t say that if it was YOUR [spouse/ kid/ parent/ neighbor/ casual acquaintance] that died! If it saves just one life, it’s worth it, no matter what the cost!”

      -every self-appointed moral authority high-horse riding jerk on the Internet

    • 0 avatar
      DAC17

      Just came to me…If we’re so upset about 28 people killing themselves over a number of years, why don’t we get our priorities right, and do something about mindless cellphone use by drivers? That would save thousands of innocent lives over the same number of years.

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    I have this in my Hyundai. My mailbox key is on the same ring as my fob, so when I stop to get my mail (shared curb boxes) I hear it often. Kind of a neat feature, but I can live without it.

    If someone is in the garage and they don’t notice the sound of the car running, or smell the exhaust, are they going to notice the alarm?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      i thought these cars are so clean that they can’t kill. I even remember VW commercial where guy tries to commit suicide and with no success.

    • 0 avatar
      shane_the_ee

      I think the problem is living areas adjacent to/above the garage. And the problem is compounded by the auto start/stop systems which turn off the engine when the vehicle stops only to turn it back on hours later when the battery gets low or the cabin air temperature varies enough to turn on the HVAC. The owners manual in our new Expedition specifically calls out the risk of leaving the vehicle “on” with the engine not running and auto stop/start active because the engine may auto start some time later…

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The latest issue of Consumer Reports, IIRC, has a complaint from a Bruick Envision owner who laments that the engine shuts off as they come to a stop in their garage, but then restarts as they engage “Park” before powering-off.

        Perhaps that’s one advantage of these overworked 2.0Ts: it’s easier to tell when it’s running versus a smoother V6 when parking.

    • 0 avatar
      1500cc

      On my ATS, the trick is to leave the door ajar, and for some reason that stops the warning beeps when I go to the mailbox or forget something in the house when the car is running.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        My Accord’s door jiggles the plunger just enough to blink the inside lights and activate the exterior beeper, even when you gently close the door so as to leave it partially unlatched.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Some relatives of mine found their minivan running in the middle of the night in the garage. Their bedrooms were at the other end of the house so not a sound could be heard. They never found out exactly how it happened.

  • avatar
    Fred

    More old car joys..in my Sprite the ignition switch was broken and they wanted $50 to replace it, which was a lot of money for me in the 70s. So I hooked up a toggle switch which just connected the ignition and it used a mechanical pull to engage the starter. No door or trunk locks so the key was just a nod to convention.

  • avatar
    Foaming Solvent

    Bad user interface. The fob itself should continuously beep, vibrate, and display the words “Car running” when it is taken more than X feet from a running vehicle. A beeping car does no good when the owner is already inside the house.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Or use fob distance from the car for shut down. Once the fob is more than 15 feet from the car the car shuts off. There has been a rash of car thefts in Chicago lately where a thief jumps into a running car at a gas station or convenience store. People will complain about it but there’s no good reason to walk away from a running car. If someone is still in the car, that person should hold the fob and lock the doors until the driver returns.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      The problem with that idea is that if the car dies it is even more of a safety hazard (see ignition switches, GM).

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Thus making the fobs even more expensive (vibrations and beepers and warning messages). You know and I know that the technology is very cheap to manufacture but at automaker prices it would cost a bundle.

      Logic: portable GPS costs $150 at the discount big box store. In a car this technology is a $2500 option. A tablet with GPS is $65 but add that kind of technology and the option would cost thousands. A decent stereo can be had for less than $100 but in a car…

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I vote for the normal turn-key!!! At least on manual car, you don’t worry of drained battery. Battery dies, push it and start it.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The type of key is irrelevant to this this issue. Just as easy to leave a regular key in the ignition with the car on. The only thing that would exacerbate it would be the combination of start/stop and proximity key I could see making it easier to accidentally leave the car on.

      Guy I work with left his car running all day in the parking lot in the past couple of years. Regular key, he was on the phone when he got to work so not paying attention to anything. Sales dudes…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Hmmmmm and I was already irritated by the fact that I had to push in the brake to get the push-button to work in my father-in-law’s new Terrain. Vehicle is in park, why do I have to step on the brake to start it?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo2

      You have to have your foot on the brake to confirm you’re not confusing the brake and the gas – which happen a lot especially among the elderly.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Confused my mom once too, and she was 34 at the time. She took my brothers and me out to dinner at the A&W in my dad’s ’74 Toronado, hit the gas instead of the brake, and Evel Knieveled that thing right into a pole.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          Makes one wonder how we survived driving cars with mechanical lock out that doesn’t let you take the key out unless the engine is off and the transmission is in park.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          My Mom did the same when she was pregnant with my kid brother – put Stepdad’s brand new ’77 Grand Prix right through the back of the garage. His first ever brand new car, special ordered. He was not amused…

          One of my late Grandfather’s favorite car stories was that one day he was walking down the main drag of Lewiston Maine in the 60s when he heard a roar and a crash, crash, crash – little old lady in a big Buick was careening between parked cars on either side of the (one-way) street, smoke billowing off the back tires. She finally got into one hard enough to stop the thing, he ran over, reached in the window and shut it off. She had her foot hard on the gas, white knuckles on the steering wheel and her eyes squeezed shut – said “It wouldn’t stop”! Of course, she thought she was hard on the brakes… She took out about a dozen cars.

          Pedal interlocks are largely due to the Audi sudden acceleration scandal of the 80s, both shifter and ignition. I’m OK with belt and suspenders for this though.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yeah but you can’t put the car in gear unless you put your foot on the brake. (Brake-shift-interlock: mandatory since 2010)

        • 0 avatar
          jmo2

          Dan, I believe the regulation prevents you from shifting out of park without putting your foot on the brake. I believe you can start the car in neutral (provided you put your foot on the brake) and then shift into drive. Although I assume the software specifics vary.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yup it is all about removing it from park. On some Fords the way to bypass a malfunctioning brake interlock is to turn the key to the accessory position, not on, shift the vehicle to Neutral to start it and then select R or D and you don’t need your foot on the brake to engage the starter though the manual says that before overriding the interlock that you should apply the parking brake and keep your foot on the brake before shifting to neutral.

    • 0 avatar
      random1

      Well, it’s like having the “ACC” position. I do this – I’m waiting to pick up my kid, so I turn the car off, press the button to get the radio going, without the engine running. Seems like a good solution.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I vote for a key.

  • avatar
    claytori

    Apparently GM is phasing in the shutdown “feature” as well.

    http://www.safetyresearch.net/blog/articles/general-motors-quietly-installs-keyless-engine-shutoff

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Ignition buttons were phased out over 60 years ago, for a superior system. The keyed ignition switch. The switch back to the push button is just another example of ‘fashion victims’. Just like touch screen systems in vehicles they should be relegated to the trash heap.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      One key for everything was probably more convenient, but not having a key at all is even moreso, I guess.

      Regardless, I prefer the key.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        why not an under-the-skin RFID implant that would never need you to carry another key ever again?

        We all kid, but I do foresee it becoming very popular when it becomes mass market…

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Don’t be ridiculous. Not having to mess around with keys is one of the reasons I like modern cars. Touch the door and it opens, push the button and it starts. Reverse when you are done driving. No fishing out the key, squinting to figure out which one, in the cold, dark, wet, etc.

      I don’t even carry house keys, as I have code locks on both houses that also recognize a fob. Great when you are carrying groceries.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        “I don’t even carry house keys, as I have code locks on both houses that also recognize a fob. Great when you are carrying groceries.”

        I guess putting one’s grocery on the ground and get his keys is too much to ask these days.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, I’d think that someone with sufficient IQ to drive a car would know if the thing’s running or not, but apparently I’m wrong.

    Regardless, if it’s a cheap fix that can be done easily, don’t see why it can’t be implemented.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    My ’04 F-150 (base model) will kill the map light, 20 minutes after you walk away with the truck off, figuring you forgot it ON, and so you don’t come back the next morning to dead battery.

    Still that’s nothing like waking up to a dead family member, but still.

    Automakers are so busy patting themselves on the back, with the latest tech gizmos, they don’t even consider added risks to the public, fail safes, etc, like cars rolling away, or running away.

    The “push button start” thing bothers me on several counts. It’s nothing I asked for, but automakers love it, and if fumbling with keys while multitasking and getting into a car to drive (or park it) is too much to ask, should I even be driving?

    It’s getting to where you barely have to participate, so what could possibly go wrong?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Loud pipes save lives.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Another stupid thing for trial lawyers to make some money or regulators to pretend they’re useful.

    Next it will be the beeping that tells the driver their car is still on is not loud enough. Totally negligent. What if a person is elderly and deaf/hard-of-hearing and can’t hear the chime?

    As a side note, it’s REALLY hard to die of CO poisoning on a modern automobile even in an enclosed space. It’s not the danger it was 40 years ago.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    This is akin to people suing over spilling hot coffee on themselves. In this case, “I left the car running because it push button ignition…and I forgot to turn the car off. It’s not my fault! It’s Ford’s fault I’m a dumbass!”.

  • avatar
    ixim

    My ’47 Caddy and ’53 Lincoln had a cheap to replace key + a starter pushbutton. You could even crank the motor without the key. Handy during tuneups! Now, a current RAV-4 has a costly [>$250!] fob that originated as a truly useful remote lock/unlock feature. Answering an unasked question, said fob is now detected by the always alert car so, voila! – no tedious hand-turning a key! Developing that feature, popular among my friends who have it, admittedly, HAD to cost a LOT more than the $500,000 quoted for improving the safety of the system. Just sayin’…..

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    A simple timer would be all that is needed. if the vehicle does not sense pedal pressure or a presence in a seat, it shuts the engine off after a pre-set time.

  • avatar
    Rob Cupples

    Nothing to do with safety but I want toggle switches — rows of toggle switches. Whether NASCAR or the Millenium Falcon I just get excited watching them go flip flip flip flip down the row like they are doing something important.

  • avatar
    plee

    Have had a 2011 Taurus for 6 years with proximity key as well as a 2017 Jetta with the same feature. Never had an issue with leaving a car running. I think it is called awareness. My wife and I are 70 so older people can handle this.

  • avatar
    markf

    The proximity key is, in my humble opinion one of the dumbest, most useless “features” foisted on car buyers. You can keep the key in your pocket, big deal. Cause inserting the key and turning it is so much work. I mean you still have to push the start button so it’s not like it saves you effort.

    Plus, it is another device with a battery that will need changing.

  • avatar
    DAC17

    Another case of our zero risk-tolerant society. Do we really think we can protect everyone from everything? Just another reason why car prices will continue to go up. This one is similar to the people who leave their kids in the car on a hot summer day. What is with people today??

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      >Another case of our zero risk-tolerant society.

      Agreed. For every new technological feature introduced to the market there is someone who will misuse that technology. Guaranteed.

      >Do we really think we can protect everyone from everything?

      Saving everyone is impossible. That’s nature’s way of thinning the herd.

  • avatar
    schen72

    Did these people not have smoke/CO2 detectors in their home? I have one in nearly every room. Seems that would have detected dangerous levels of CO2.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well a smoke detector, which is federally required in all residences, won’t do you any good but the laws in my state now require CO detectors in all residences and there are stiff penalties for renting or selling a residence w/o them.

  • avatar
    V8

    Why not just mandate detached garages?

  • avatar
    ernest

    I still want to meet the moron that called this a “SmartKey.”

    Just another example of technology trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Naturally, there will be more technology brought to bear to solve this problem… that didn’t exist before the technology came into use.

    I have this feature on the Charger. It’s VERY EASY to leave the motor running when you exit the car. I’m aware of this… but I’m sure not everyone is.

  • avatar
    Booick

    There was never anything wrong with the ignition key. Push buttons solve a non-existent problem and frankly, even after months of driving a car with one, I never grew used to it or grew to liking it.

    • 0 avatar
      markf

      “There was never anything wrong with the ignition key. Push buttons solve a non-existent problem and frankly, even after months of driving a car with one, I never grew used to it or grew to liking it.”

      Could not agree more, a solution in search of a problem.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I’ve often wondered why self-described “safety advocates” are given social carte blanche and unlimited moral authority to stridently insist that all manner of unreasonable, expensive things be installed in cars – to be paid for by Somebody Else – while facing absolutely no backlash, mockery or demand for justification from the public or lawmakers.

    Why do we never hear things like…

    “Can you tell this committee, Ms. Safety Advocate, why 50,000 vehicular deaths per year are an unreasonable risk, when you consider that Americans drive over 2.5 trillion miles in that same time?”

    “Please tell this committee, Mr. Grieving Father, why other people should be subjected to the added expense and complexity of mandatory backup cameras in their new cars when your son is dead because of your negligence?”

    And finally…

    “Mr. and Mrs. Road Safety Advocate, would you please explain to the American people how your activism is going to bring your dead child back?”

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      When I was 5, we had a set of lawn darts.

      One day, while playing lawn darts– I looked into the sun and kind of watched a lawn dart fly directly into my forehead.

      I saw stars. Mom took me to the doctor and observed me for a single sleepless night. Mom and Dad didn’t need the bills covered– so no one was sued, but we sure didn’t play lawn darts anymore!

      Someone else did make the trouble. I’m glad they did.

      Sometimes the most responsible thing a person can do is to make sure others don’t have too much fun. It’s just a part of life.

      • 0 avatar
        pdog_phatpat

        People like you are the reason we cant have nice things.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        @iNeon – Ouch! I’m just glad it didn’t hit your eye. Since this is a car forum, is this how the “dodge dart” was born?

        • 0 avatar
          iNeon

          Mostly we can’t tell if it was Mom’s smoking, the lawn dart– or that every recessive gene God ever created made it into my DNA :P

          But for real– life was ok before and after the lawn dart. I’m sure it’ll be just as beautiful after every car has whatever feature OneAlpha doesn’t want today.

  • avatar
    mcs

    What’s the problem? I warm my car up inside the garage all the time without issues. Even if I left it on overnight, no problem. Always nice to get into a nicely warmed up or cooled down car.

    One of the advantages of owning an EV. You can run it indoors without asphyxiating yourself.

    My ICE cars are loud enough that there’s no way you can stand them being on. There’s no way I’d forget to turn them off.

    Where is asdf? He needs to call for the recall of all ICE cars because they are killing people.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I think part of the reason that Toyotas are high on the list is the fact that they sell a much higher percentage of hybrids than any other mfg. The engine is off before you make it in the driveway let alone into the garage. So when you get out of the car there is no engine running to clue someone in that the car is still “ready to drive”. Then sometime later the traction battery SOC drops enough or the HVAC needs engine heat the car restarts long after the person has went inside.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    It’s interesting to see just how automated cars are today. My step son just started driving and we gave him a 1991 f150 for his first car. That thing is Stone Age technology compared to what he learned on(wife’s 2014 Yukon). He ran out of gas because he thought the truck was smart enough to switch to the auxiliary fuel tank when the main tank ran out.

    There is no forgetting that you left this truck running though. It has a 5.oh in it and while it’s quiet enough it shakes the truck enough that you would not be confused as to whether it’s running. The other thing I noticed is just how much visibility this truck has. Unless a young toddler is sitting behind the truck you can see everything around you when backing up. Same goes for up front. It’s pretty low slung compared to the trucks of today and has a low belt line and small a pillars. Probably awful in a crash but you can see what’s coming and avoid it much easier.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    If VW could program their diesels to figure out when it was safe to exit test-cheating mode, surely it can’t be too hard to make the car shut down after 30 minutes of idling. Even my Kindle knows to go to sleep if too much time elapses between page turns.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    I’m thinking that auto makers do not want to implement the “shut the engine off after 30 minutes” function due to, 1st cost and 2nd concern that a glitch will shut the engine off on a 60mph road, perhaps at night.
    The idea that CO detectors in homes will end this problem is not true.
    Many people have impaired hearing and will not notice any beeping alarms. Also these detectors, smoke and CO, malfunction a lot.
    I have replaced several that gave false alarms when they were less than a year old. Then there is the power situation. Many areas require alarms to be wired to the 110 VAC with a battery backup if the AC power fails. How many people change the batteries? Yes I know, most of the detectors are supposed to beep/blink an LED when the battery is low, but that function can also fail.
    All the detectors that I have used over the last 30 years have had problems. They are made cheaply as a throw-away item. How well are they going to work?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    ****BREAKING NEWS****28 deaths and 45 injuries dating back to 2006 due to people forgetting to hit the power off button on their push button ignition. Special legislative hearing to follow with perhaps a grand jury inquiry.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programing of watching people, usually school children, being slaughtered by an assault rifle….

    I extend my thoughts and prayers to the families of the 28 people who expired, it is a tragedy that was preventable with a modicum of common sense. Seems like that is the appropriate amount of public concern we need to show for ignition switches.

    • 0 avatar
      markf

      and we have an appearance of ARDS, “Assault rifle derangement syndrome.

      Because the comparison of systematic Gov failure leading to school shooting is exactly like leaving your car on.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I could give two sh!ts about some bozo who left their car on and died. Means nothing to me.

        I am not deranged about assault rifles either, I fully understand what they are. They are just that, assault rifles. unless you are military, you don’ need, wait for it, a rifle designed for assault.

        So, yes it is government failure for allowing the absolute proliferation of weapons into the hands of completely unqualified owners.

        • 0 avatar
          markf

          No, you do not a fully understand what an “assault” rifle is. DOD defines it as full auto, AR-15s are not full auto. AR-15s are not used by the military.

          The media (and people like you)defines “assault” rifle as any rifle that is black and scary. Many semi-autos shoot .223 and larger caliber but since they are not “military style” they are some how less deadly.

          All firearms are , wait for, designed for assault. As are ALL weapons.

          So since you are not concerned about folks who left their ignitions on, which is what this article is about STFU about firearms you obviously no know nothing about.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Hey this won’t be a problem much longer b/c we are led to believe that everyone’s car will be electric in another ten years.

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