• New push to require safety features on keyless ignition vehicles

    By: Jason Stoogenke

    Updated:

    WASHINGTON - Keyless ignition is very convenient.  Push a button and your vehicle starts.  But, forget it's still on, especially in your garage, and it can be deadly.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been talking about requiring more safety features for almost seven years.  

    Now, U.S. senators frustrated with the wait are sending a letter to federal regulators demanding action, calling NHTSA's work on keyless entry "unacceptable."  

    "It's been delayed multiple times and, during those delays, people have lost their lives and that is incredibly tragic and needless," Peter Kurdock, with Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, said.

    They want the vehicles to automatically shut off at some point. They also want audible alerts so drivers know their vehicles are still running.  

    NHTSA's own research shows the cost to add the alert would be less than $500,000 industrywide, or pennies per vehicle.

    "Super duper important," Charlotte driver Lindsey Lay said.  "We don't want the car to stay on forever, especially if the kids are in it or if I have my dogs in it."

    In 2015, Action 9 first told you about people who died, including Xan Harrington's father, a Pfeiffer professor.  "It was the most tragic event in my life. Every day I think about my dad and what I'm missing," he said.

    [RELATED: 9 Investigates: Keyless vehicles blamed for deaths]

    Will Thomason's parents had just celebrated 50 years of marriage and died too. "By the time they were found, they were essentially brain dead," he said of his parents.

    And there have been close calls, like two women in a Mooresville house.  "It was frightening," their lawyer, Randall Phillips, said.  "They suffered pretty severe carbon monoxide poisoning.  They were hospitalized for days."

    Four police officers who responded to the scene went to the hospital too.  

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