NHTSA addresses keyless ignition systems

Washington – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) intended to help prevent drivers of vehicles with keyless ignition systems, such as push-button starts, from unintentionally leaving the vehicle while the engine is running or when the transmission is not locked in park.

The proposed rule would standardize the length of time required to push a keyless control that shuts off the vehicle’s engine or propulsion system to a half-second, and would require that engines or propulsion systems shut down in one full second.

The NPRM came following recent complaints to NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation regarding crashes due to unintended acceleration. At issue, the agency said, is drivers’ inability to stop a moving vehicle in a panic situation.

Additionally, the proposed rule would mandate that an audible warning for keyless ignition vehicles be provided during each of the following instances:

  • If a user attempts to turn off the engine or propulsion system without first shifting into park
  • If a user attempts to exit a vehicle without first shifting the gear to park
  • If a user attempts to exit a vehicle without first turning off the engine or propulsion system

Comments on the NPRM are due March 12.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)