NHTSA Proposes Rule on Standards for Keyless Controls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would standardize the operation of controls that are used to stop the vehicle engine or other propulsion system and that do not involve the use of a physical key.

NHTSA also is proposing to require that an audible warning be given to any driver who: attempts to shut down the propulsion system without first moving the gear selection control to the “park” position (for vehicles with a “park” position); exits a vehicle without having first moved the gear selection control to “park” (for vehicles with a “park” position) or exits a vehicle without first turning off the propulsion system.

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.

NHTSA said this rulemaking action was undertaken in response to its review of complaints from consumers to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) reporting incidents such as those described above and investigations of crashes and complaints regarding unintended acceleration.

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