“Push to start” was once was a feature in high end cars and luxury models, but in recent years the technology has become mainstream. Most new cars have the “push to start” feature, which has likely contributed to the increased number of deaths by over exposure to carbon monoxide.
Customers are accustomed to taking their key fob with them when they exit the vehicle, thus giving the driver the comfort of knowing that their vehicle is in the off position. What appears to be happening is that people are pulling into their garages and are forgetting to push the button to turn off their cars. They take their key fob with them and they go about their daily activities having no recollection that their car is still running in the garage, potentially exposing them to carbon monoxide.
Another feature that may inadvertently play a role in people forgetting to turn off their car is the general sound of newer engines. Many newer model vehicles are so quiet that it would be easy to mistake them as not running at all. People that are used to driving an older vehicle may not recognize the vehicle is running simply because they are used to being able to noticeably hear the engine when it is running.
One question is, are there substantial signals and warnings coming from the vehicle to notify the driver that they have left their vehicle running? Some models have a series of beeps that are designed to get the drivers attention, but many argue that it is not enough. Some Ford models will completely turn off the engine after it has been idling for 30 minutes, if the key fob is not present. However, there are not any industry standards that all vehicles must follow. These notifications are implemented at the discretion of the individual manufacturers. The New York Times has reported that there have been at least 28 identified deaths and 45 injuries related to carbon monoxide since 2006, but they caution that the number may be much higher.
Do you think that cars should have more advanced notification systems to protect against issues like this? We would love to hear from you?