Saturday, June 29, 2019

Keyless ignition systems a new wrinkle in residential carbon monoxide poisoning from motor vehicles

Ms. Penney, 81, and Mr. Livingston, 88, were found dead at their home in Sarasota, Fla., poisoned by carbon monoxide, according to preliminary tests by the local medical examiner. Susan Livingston said that after the car — which had a keyless ignition — pulled into the garage attached to theweir house, the engine had continued to run.

Source:  Elsevier

Preliminary research framework and findings:
  • study conducted over 30-month period:  March 2007 to September 2009
  • search of daily newspapers:  "carbon monoxide poisoning"
  • 837 news reports involving 4,365 poisonings
Research specific to residential carbon monoxide poisoning in motor vehicles 
  • 59 incidents resulted from leaving a motor vehicle running in a garage with resultant poisoning of the occupants within the attached residence.  (A telling statistic:  17, or 29%, involved people older than 80 years old)
  • 175 people poisoned, 63 of whom died
  • reasons for intentionally running engine in garage
    • charging vehicle battery
    • warming vehicle before going out into cold weather
    • providing power to radio or other music source
  • reasons for accidentally running engine in garage
    • distraction or forgetfulness when leaving vehicle
    • intoxication with drugs or alcohol
    • impaired hearing
    • some form of dementia

Related reading:
What you need to know about keyless ignition systems.  (Edmunds, 8/7/2018)
Keyless ignition systems first began appearing on production cars in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and like many tech and convenience features, they were initially available only on luxury models and other high-end vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is generally recognized as the first mass-produced car with keyless ignition, followed by models from Acura, Cadillac, Lexus and Rolls-Royce. Keyless ignition has become increasingly common in cars.  In 2008, keyless ignition was standard on 11 percent of the vehicles sold in the U.S. By 2018, it was standard equipment on 62 percent of vehicles sold.  [emphasis added]

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