• Newly proposed law could protect consumers from the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning from cars

    By: Leah Jordan

    Updated:

    Some call carbon monoxide “the silent killer.” A consumer report article blames the invisible gas on nearly 50,000 emergency room visits and 1,200 deaths every year. 

    Smoke from fires is the most common source of carbon monoxide poisoning, and other sources include gas stoves, furnaces, and snow blowers. But with the advancement of technology and keyless car ignitions, there are now more opportunities for carbon monoxide to kill than ever before. 

    This week, a newly-proposed law was introduced to the House: the PARK IT act. The act was originally introduced in February and has now advanced.

    According to Congress.gov, it would require the Secretary of Transportation to protect consumers from the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and rollaways from cars. It would mandate cars with keyless ignitions to shut off after a certain amount of time in park. 

    Advocates for the bill say that drivers can accidentally leave their cars with push-button ignitions running in their garage. 

    The CO from the vehicles gets into drivers’ homes and kills them. One report from KidsAndCars.org states since 2006, 37 people have died and 80 people have been hurt from that exact scenario. 

    People throughout the community told us they think a bill protecting people from accidental carbon monoxide exposure will be positive.

    “It would definitely help with carbon monoxide because it would just cut off and then you wouldn’t have to worry about it,” Ashley Burnette, a Memphis resident, said. “You’re carrying your stuff in a lot of times and then forget…like, ‘oh, the car is still running,’ because it’s so quiet."

    Just days ago, Toyota announced their cars and SUV’s with push-button ignitions will turn themselves off after being parked for a while. 

    This feature is expected to be added to most of the 2020 model year cars, according to a CNN Business report.


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    FOX13 reached out to the National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Association. Charon McNabb, president and founder, said the bill is a great first step – but more needs to be done. She said CO detector should be mandated on all vehicles, but it’s difficult to say if or when that might happen. 

    “We would need to get NHTSA on board, as well as some of the automakers, to really assess the situation and step up to the plate and do the right thing,” McNabb said. “It’s a very simple add.”

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