HD4366: An Act relative to increasing operational safety for keyless ignition technology in motor vehicles


This session, a constituent named Susan Livingston approached me to share the tragic story of the deaths of her father James Livingston and his wife, Sherry Penney, by carbon monoxide poisoning from their keyless ignition vehicle. As I learned more from Susan about the recent history of deaths and poisonings by carbon monoxide from keyless ignition vehicles that fail to turn off, I became increasingly concerned about the lack of consumer protections available in Massachusetts concerning these vehicles and the drawn-out fight at the federal level to regulate car manufacturers.

So that no one else must lose someone to a vehicular failure in a keyless ignition vehicle, I have filed HD.4366, An Act relative to increasing operational safety for keyless ignition technology in motor vehicles. This bill includes strong consumer protections in the form of requirements applied to manufacturers, dealers, and car rental outlets for keyless ignition vehicles to include auto-stop technology in case the vehicle fails to shut down normally.

According to a report published by the New York Times in 2018, while no federal agency is required to maintain records of carbon monoxide deaths related to keyless ignition vehicles, data from lawsuits, reports, police and fire records, and the work of advocacy groups show at least 28 deaths and 45 injuries since 2006. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) filed draft risk prevention rules related to keyless ignition vehicles, including automatic shutdown technology in 2011, persistent industry opposition has delayed implementation of those rules and the NHTSA has yet to institute the standards.

I am proud to be filing this important legislation and working hard to see it passed into law as soon as possible.