US Senate Lawmakers seek greater safeguards for keyless ignitions

New Senate legislation introduced Friday aims to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and rollaway accidents in vehicles with keyless push-button start.

The proposal by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Edward Markey, D-Mass., would force NHTSA to issue regulations requiring automatic shut-off features and set a performance standard for powering down a vehicle when it’s not in park mode. They say the nation’s top auto safety agency has dragged its feet addressing the problem and that automakers have not done enough to protect consumers.

Last May, a New York Times investigation identified 28 fatalities and 45 injuries since 2006 connected to carbon monoxide from keyless-ignition vehicles left running in a home garage. Smart-key technologies are standard equipment on 62 percent of new vehicles, according to consumer information website Edmunds.