As Deaths Climb, Safety Advocates Want Renewed Action on Push-button Ignition Danger

With push-button ignitions now present in half of new vehicles, safety groups continue pressing for an industry-wide solution to a problem we’ve known about for years: drivers inadvertently leaving their vehicles running in the garage.

The most recent look at the issue comes from The New York Times, which details the 28 deaths and 45 injuries attributed to accidental carbon monoxide exposure stemming from pushbutton-equipped vehicles left running while parked indoors. As no one keeps official track of these incidents, the paper cobbled them together from news reports dating back to 2006.

This story keeps cropping up because measures designed to prevent the deaths are piecemeal. And, in some cases, insufficient — according to those advocates. In 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration added a new rule mandating that push-button vehicles emit a warning to alert the driver before he or she leaves the vehicle running unattended.