Keyless ignition cars linked to CO poisoning

Published: Mar. 13, 2015 at 7:18 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2015 at 7:18 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Imagine - you park your car in the garage, forget to turn it off, and the fumes spread into your house making everyone inside sick.

Fire officials say that's what happened Thursday to Joni Hause's neighbors.

"That's scary," Hause said. "It's very scary."

"They got up that morning and didn't feel good so they were vomiting and showing signs of something going on," said Mooresville Fire Chief Curt Deaton.

A Nissan Murano was left running for 10 hours in the garage at the home on the 100-block of Cinebar Road. Three residents and four responding police officers were sent to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.

The hybrid SUV doesn't have a traditional key, so besides taking the key fob out you also need to press the stop button to shut off the engine.

"The gentlemen was not familiar with the car because it was new and it's a hybrid car," said Chief Deaton. "So it was hard to hear it running, so when he pulled in the garage he didn't realize it was not turned off."

The problem is becoming more common every year. Now car makers are taking notice.

On Friday, General Motors announced it's recalling more than 64,000 of its Chevy Volt cars. The engines are so quiet people forget to shut them off.

"Which I think should be fixed on a lot of cars," said Joni, who also owns a hybrid.

She said her vehicle does shut off after 15 minutes, but only if she starts it automatically.

That's not the case, though, if she starts it with the start button.

"I'm not sure if it turns off at all."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring vehicle manufacturers to install some kind of audible warning to warn drivers who remove the key but don't turn off the ignition.

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