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Lawsuit Claims Lexus Keyless Ignition Caused Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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2010 Lexus IS250 AWD by Jeff Glucker on Flickr

2010 Lexus IS250 AWD by Jeff Glucker on Flickr

According to The New York Daily News, a lawsuit has been filed claiming that Toyota’s Lexus keyless ignition system caused a carbon monoxide poisoning death in Queens.

Last February, 79-year-old Ernest Cordelia Jr. was found dead with toxic levels of carbon monoxide in his system and his longtime partner Mary Rivera was found unconscious nearby; a Lexus with a keyless ignition system was parked in the garage.

Although Rivera survived, she has suffered severe brain damage, cannot walk, has difficulty speaking, and has no recollection of the incident — and their lawyer believes it was the couple’s Lexus that is to blame.

More specifically, the lawsuit claims that the car’s engine was accidentally left on because of the keyless ignition feature and that Toyota is responsible for not installing a “shutdown” switch that would shut off the ignition if the car isn’t being used for certain period of time. Their lawyer suggests that the couple had only recently purchased the car and may not have known or understood the feature.

“This is a cool little bell-and-whistle to sell cars, but they have to address problems that have sprouted up,” Attorney Noah Kushlefsky told the Daily News. Kuslefsky claims that the design runs afoul of federal safety standards as the engine can continue to run indefinitely.

And apparently this isn’t the only instance in which carbon monoxide poisoning may be linked to a Lexus with a keyless ignition system. The Daily News also mentions the death of a 29-year-old woman in Florida that is being investigated for its potential Lexus link.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration knows of “some potential safety issues” and is investigating accordingly.

Do you have experience with a keyless ignition system? What do you think of this lawsuit?

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November 8th, 2010 at 9:59 am