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 |  Dec 09 2011, 9:00 PM

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) is pushing for a new rule that will standardized the time it takes for keyless ignitions to shutoff a vehicle to avoid accidents of unintended acceleration following the aftermath of Toyota‘s record recalls.

The accident that started Toyota’s recalls involved a 2009 Lexus ES350 that filled four people with part of the blame being pointed at the vehicle’s push-button control that required the driver to hold the button down for as long as three seconds in order to stop the engine.

The NHTSA is hoping to standardize the length of time for a push-button ignition to power down a vehicle in half-a-second and the proposed rule would cost less than $500,000 a year to implement. The issue at hand is the driver’s inability to stop a moving vehicle in a panic situation or drivers who unintentionally leave the vehicle in drive leading to vehicle rollaway. Another concern is carbon monoxide poisoning in an enclosed area when drivers leave the engine running when leaving the vehicle.

It can debated if Toyota’s unintended acceleration debacle in 2009 and 2010 can really be pinpointed on push-button ignitions and their delay in shutting off a vehicle. But any enhanced safety to compensate for human error in a panic situation is always welcomed.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Apr 12 2011, 11:29 AM

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the possibility of making keyless ignitions a mandatory item for cars, as a means of providing drivers with a way to shut off the engine quickly in case of emergencies.

NHTSA is also considering banning the devices altogether, and mandating the use of a physical key, since the public is already familiar with their workings – although it seems nonsensical in light of the all-or-nothing nature of their proposed regulation.

The Society of Automotive Engineers has already drawn up technical standards related to the keyless ignition systems, and these would be adopted by NHTSA should the push-start technology become mandatory. The main stipulation of the proposed rule would be a common method to shut off the engine, involving a multiple second push of the start button, or something similar.

[Source: Automotive News]