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Unhinged: Ten Auto Manufacturers Are Being Sued Over Keyless Ignitions – This Might Be The Most Idiotic Lawsuit Yet!

Unhinged: Ten Auto Manufacturers Are Being Sued Over Keyless Ignitions – This Might Be The Most Idiotic Lawsuit Yet!

Auto manufacturers have been through the ringer the last few years, admittedly by their own fault. Toyota’s “unintended acceleration” deal. GM’s ignition system. Honda’s actions that pre-empted the Takata airbag recall. FCA/Chrysler’s inactions regarding prior recalls. They’ve been through hell, sure. But of all of the lawsuits brought against auto manufacturers, the latest one is up at the top as what has to be the stupidest one possible. Ten auto manufacturers were named in a California lawsuit (Draeger et al v. Toyota Motor Sales USA) that, in short terms, blames thirteen carbon monoxide poisoning deaths upon vehicles with a keyless ignition system that the operator of the vehicle failed to turn off when they left the vehicle. As the automobile kept running, presumably in a garage attached to a house, exhaust fumes built up, ultimately causing death. According to the lawsuit, the victims held a mistaken belief that the vehicle would shut off on it’s own after they left the vehicle and took the key fob with them. The suit claims that manufacturers “had actual knowledge of the dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning consequences of vehicles with keyless fobs that lack an automatic shut-off”.

This isn’t something to blame the manufacturer on, this was a fatal mistake made by a human being that:

  1. Wasn’t properly informed on how the start/stop/key fob system of their new vehicle functioned;
  2. Didn’t have enough knowledge about the functions of the vehicle they were operating, allowing them to operate it in a safe manner; and
  3. Did not have enough awareness of their surroundings that they could not hear a running car in the confines of their own garage, and/or did not bother to check and verify that the vehicle was off when they left it.

It is with every ounce of restraint that I have that I simply do not unload my opinions at the computer on this story in full, uncut terms. The manufacturers did not fail here. Of course manufacturers have known of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning…how many people have died of intentional carbon monoxide poisoning via automobile? What failed were the operators. These people did not know, or understand, how to operate the car properly. They assumed that the car would automatically shut off when the electronic fob left the car. Assumption is a dangerous thing, and these people wound up being a testament as to why. We can preach on and on about how vehicles are unsafe, but in the end it is driver responsibility, from start to end, that makes up a lot of the issues that we have regarding human beings and vehicles.

It is my opinion…and ONLY my opinion…that if you cannot be bothered to take a half-second and verify that your vehicle has turned off, or that you cannot hit the “OFF” button, that you do not need a driver’s license. Call me calloused, but if you think that a brand-new car will do everything for you, and that you don’t have to think or interact with the two tons of rubber, glass and metal that you operate every day at speed, then you don’t need to drive. This lawsuit is frivolous and the only shred of merit to come from it is to jar the public’s awareness of such an incident occurring. That’s it. Automobiles are naturally dangerous; that’s been an accepted part of their usage ever since inventors started replacing the horse. But what happened to the thirteen people who died was not the fault of an automobile manufacturer. It was their own stupidity and ignorance. You had the ability to hit the button once to start the car…surely you can be bothered to hit the button again to shut it off.

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28 thoughts on “Unhinged: Ten Auto Manufacturers Are Being Sued Over Keyless Ignitions – This Might Be The Most Idiotic Lawsuit Yet!

  1. anthony

    I prefer keys myself. That start stop button bullshit is just cheaper for them and a good gimmick. No one asked for that.

    1. JKady

      It’s a gimmick to get the people that are too fucking lazy to actually remove the key from their pocket and *gasp* TURN something.

  2. 75Duster

    Maybe if the dumbasses actually read their owners manuals after buying their cars they wouldn’t be dead.
    It doesn’t surprise me that the lawsuit is out of California.

  3. Sumgai

    I’d rather have a key, too. I hate the delays inherent to a button-start setup; I like instant on and instant off at my command, not asking a computer if it’s okay to start or stop the engine.

    Besides, inserting and turning a key is part of the experience of driving a car. Taking that away makes it more like an appliance.

    1. Hale

      My Focus ST has a button, and displays no delay at all. I leave the key in my pocket and that’s that. I love this system, at least on my car. I’m assuming all Ford products work similarly.

  4. HotRod

    Instead of suing the car companies they need to sue the idiots that were too stupid to make sure their cars were shut off.

  5. ram50boosted

    sad this happened but the responsibility falls on the operator NOT the manufacturer. if you are too stupid to figure out a vehicle maybe you need to take some form of public transportation. that way there are fewer vehicles on the road to leave more room for us who know how to operate and enjoy driving.

  6. Dick Sappington

    Looks like it’s time for yet another in the unending line of aptly named “idiot lights”. 😀

  7. jerry z

    At least those 13 people can’t repeat that mistake!

    You also have to figure, when these people went for a test drive (I’m assuming), wouldn’t that salesperson demonstrate how to use the keyless setup?

  8. Gump

    Great. Now future will automatically shut off when you open the door. Screws us in the cold climates for trying to warm things up for ten minutes in the morning when it\’s 40 below outside. Idiots.

  9. Joe

    Well guess these stupid type of people need their “smart phones/gadgets” to do more things for you
    they are probably the same ones that have those freaking gadgets glued to their ears/fingers while driving, so in a way… maybe it’s good… we need to thin the heard out so to speak

    amazing how lazy our society is becoming

  10. Lee

    Guess I stand alone on this issue. I see the car manufacturers being at fault and to be held liable for not instituting an automatic shutoff after a certain time period that the key fob has left the vehicle. The vehicle will not start unless the key fob is in the vehicle. How much would have it cost to have the car cut power when the key fob leaves the car? GM has already done a recall on 2011 – 2013 Volts to institute this. So they know it’s an issue.

    The manufacturers are to blame because they failed to institute the KISS principal . . . Keep It Simple Stupid!.

  11. Richard Wallendal

    My Mercedes has the eco-feature to start stop the motor at a red light to save fuel. If you pull up somewhere and it is off to save fuel I have gotten out of the car several times and had to remind myself that it was still on even though it was Not running at the time. Also, you can not shut down the motor while moving. Kind of scary. What if “drive by wire ” throttle f’s up. Can you spell RUNAWAY. Thankfully it had worked so far.

  12. john t

    I’ve hated for a long time the levels of automation and `features’ that keep appearing in new cars. More things to go wrong, more things to weigh the vehicle down, more things to keep the moron behind the wheel amused. Hell I dont even particularly like automatic transmissions! This, however, just goes to show how stupid people are becoming. And you’re going to hate me for saying this, but America seems to be at the cutting edge …hasn’t got a jumbo sized cup holder? how will we survive? Coffee’s too hot? Sue Macdonald’s – can’t be MY fault. And Lee… really? you agree with this crap? And your topper is to say that they should apply the KISS principle – and add MORE electronic nanny crap? OK….

    1. Lee Antin

      You have misunderstood me John. I was only referring to the push button start/stop device in cars that have it. That was the subject of this thread and the subject of the lawsuit.

      We were never asked if we want more automation or technology in cars.

      Bryan’s opinion was the class action lawsuit was frivalious – that stupidity was the cause of the deaths involved. And I sort of agreed – but put the blame on the manufacturers, not the consumers. It was their stupidity for assuming that consumers would learn how to properly use the start/stop button. It should have been made idiot proof from the beginning – and it wasn’t. So they should be held accountable for that.

      1. Americanprid3

        Lee have you used a new portable gas can like the one you fill your lawn mower with? Do You know why we have to deal with that pain in the ass spout? It is because some dumbass was pouring gas on a fire and it exploded mameing his daughter for life!!!!! So he sued the gas can maker and said flames could travel into the gas can… so he got millions and they had to make a pain in the ass spout to stay shut all the time… It was his dumbass that hurt his daughter not the gas can manufacturer! He sounds like he might be related to YOU! Let’s blame someone else because you are stupid. What’s next sue the garage door manufacturer so they have to know when there is co2 In high amounts and open the door? Maybe look into the 13 ppl that have no co2 detection or they have dead batterys in there home. Oh let’s sue the battery ppl cause they go dead and put us in danger! SMDH

      2. mooseface

        John, I definitely agree that we here in the ‘States are leading the pack in general stupidity and loss of common sense, and I feel that more safety and regulatory features will only cause more problems down the line. However, I think Lee was just pointing out that the automakers did fail in the capacity to anticipate that kind of stupidity.

        Failure to consider inept or careless owners is by extension a design flaw, as much as I hate to say it, and this was a road I grew to fear the traveling of when automated headlights became SOP: by removing owners from the basic operation of their vehicles, they’re essentially breeding operators with ever reducing awareness and common sense.

  13. Rod Behring

    Lee, you know the fobs have an operating range of like 50-75 feet, right? How far are most people’s garage parking space from where they set the keys in the house? Unless your super rich with a 10k sf house, it’ll fall within range. Programming it to shutoff when the fob leaves the car, defeats the intended purpose of the tech, including lock n unlock.
    Additionally, have you noticed how fresh and new owners manuals are in cars less than 10yrs old? What does that tell you?

  14. Paul

    To all you guys that say cars are too automated etc and blaming it on the automaker stfu! Back in the 70s/80s stick shift was standard , no ac was standard , power windows was an upgrade. Most times if you bought a new car you had a bunch of no ac no power windows cars to choose from and would have to order in one that was loaded. Because of our lazy spoiled asses nowadays 99% of cars are loaded and if you want a base model car you have to order it. The automakers are giving the public what they want, more gadgetry , technology etc. When it ends up killing you then so be it , it’s what you asked for….. don’t like it , ride the bus.

  15. sbg

    Why do I have to be the bad guy and point something out that it seems you missed?

    Cars have auto-stop, auto-start features now. So when little old lady pulls into her garage, the motor stops running. She thinks “cool” and goes to make lemonade with a vodka twist. The car is, of course, still on and when it realizes it needs to do something like run the a/c, charge the battery, or whatever, it automatically starts and does whatever it’s supposed to do. Of course, the down side is Gertrude is now dead…. but at least it’s a low-mileage car, right?

    Even stupid me send GM an email after I was given a Volt as a rental car. That stupid car, even if the ignition is off, will restart if it thinks its battery is too low…. EVEN IF THE CAR IS TURNED OFF….

    But you do carry on about your rant…. it’s entertaining.

  16. sbg

    and I consider you a friend Bryan, so as your friend I need to give you a bit of advice. Before you rant and become the most hated of all things – a “journalist” – check the lawsuit and facts before you start into a rant which doesn’t do much to improve your credibility.

  17. Don Fitzgerald

    It started with the automatic headlight that would stay on until the timer timed out. People think their cars are automatic. I even noticed that they took the key lock out of the passengers door now. Anything to save a dollar but the price of the car/truck still goes up outa site. I have a letter pad on the door of my truck. I USE the key to unlock the door.

  18. lb34

    I had the bad luck to get stuck with a jeep loaner when my truck was in the shop under dealer repair. The fob started the car car when the wife’s bird hit the start button. The car ran for over 30 min. (Dealer paid for gas so I wanted to see how long it would run for before it shut off). I shut it off after the 30 min so I could see how this could happen. Yes dealer did fix the bad relay.

  19. Scooterz82

    He with the deepest pockets shall be responsible for the stupidity of people who hire lawyers from tv commercials.

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