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December 14, 2011

Fatal Crash Leads To NHTSA Standards For Keyless Ignition

In 2009 a group of four people died in a Lexus ES 350 after a crash. Some experts believe that the fatalities would have been prevented if the keyless ignition had not required a three second touch to turn off the vehicle. That crash has led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to recommend standardization of all keyless ignition systems to shut off after a half-second button push.

The proposed standards point to drivers being unable to shutoff vehicles while they are panicked. The accident mentioned earlier prompted a recall by Toyota, but the NHTSA found that each automaker differed on the amount of time a button had to be pushed for ignition to take place or be cutoff.

Will people think to reach for the ignition button while crashing or shortly there after? Some have suggested that keys would be an answer to the issue, but wouldn’t connecting airbags and other safety equipment to the ignition be a better solution. Why can’t the engine be shut down in the event of a detected crash?

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