Since 2005, 37 people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning because they parked their car in a garage and did not turn the engine off from the pushbutton start.
The latest victim, according to USA TODAY, is a 69-year old Pennsylvania man named Russell Fish. Russell's wife was out of town and he ran to get some food. Once done, he and his dog went to bed. 10 hours later he was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities said he left his Toyota 4Runner running in his garage. Sadly the dog passed away as well. Mr. Fish is the fourth person to die this year in a similar manner.
Pending LegislationAccording to the USA Today report, this past February, a proposed law dubbed the PARK IT Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate. A House version was introduced June 6.
The name stands for Protecting Americans from the Risk of Keyless Technology. It seeks the following:
It mandates that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issue rules within two years of the law's passage.
Rollaway vehicles have been another concern. There have been a number of instances, in fact, 142 deaths to be exact, in just the 2012-2014 time frame due to rollaway accidents, according to the NHTSA. It is likely there have been many more since.
Some Automakers Have The Technology NowFord, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler already have technology that will shut the engine off after certain periods of time. In fact, Ford and General Motors implemented this feature in 2013.
NHTSA Has Addressed The Keyless Ignition IssueThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has addressed this issue at its website, www.NHTSA.gov:
Palm Beach, Florida Took ActionFrom 2012-2014, seven deaths occurred in Palm Beach, Florida due to cars that people did not turn off and succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in their residences. It is thought that since this is a retirement community that older people had more problems remembering to make sure they had killed their engine.
The problem was bad enough the Palm Beach County Sheriff made a video addressing the issue:
Bottom LineWherever you park your vehicle, make sure it is in park, especially with newer transmissions that have a button to engage park, instead of actually shifting into the park position.
Get in the habit of setting your parking brake every single time you park. Even if you do not have the car in the proper park position, this will prevent roll aways.
Lastly, make sure the engine is off. There should be no lights on the dash if the car is turned off. If your radio is still on, there is a good chance the engine is, too. Listen for the engine sound or check the tachometer, and to be sure, press your accelerator pedal to see if your engine revs before exiting the car.
June 26, 2019