NHTSA proposes standard for keyless ignition systems image

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is advancing a new proposition to standardise keyless ignitions to allow drivers to switch off the engine faster and easier.

The proposed rule will cost less than $500,000 a year, the NHTSA announced. “These are the kinds of things you never think to read up on when you’re in a new vehicle or a rental vehicle. It’s better that it’s standardized,” said Henry Jasny, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which pushed for the standard.

The rule was developed after a driver and his family died in the crash of a borrowed Lexus ES-350 because the driver couldn’t turn off the engine. The car had a start/stop button which needed to be pushed for three seconds for the engine to stop. The proposal is intended at making sure that all vehicles with keyless ignitions can be turned off in the same way.

“At issue are drivers’ inability to stop a moving vehicle in a panic situation, and drivers who unintentionally leave the vehicle without the vehicle transmission’s being ‘locked in park,’ or with the engine still running, increasing the chances of vehicle rollaway or carbon monoxide poisoning in an enclosed area,” reads the NHTSA press release.

The rule would standardize the length of time drivers must push a button to stop a moving car to a half-second.