The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Dec. 12 that seeks to address safety issues arising from increasing variations of keyless ignition control and the operation of those controls. Of concern are drivers’ inability to stop a moving vehicle in a panic situation as well as 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.
The NPRM proposes to standardize the length of time it is necessary to push a control to stop the vehicle engine or other propulsion system. NHTSA is also 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, exits a vehicle without having first moved the gear selection control to "park" or exits a vehicle without first turning off the propulsion system.
Comments on the NPRM are due to the Agency by March 12, 2012. A copy of the Federal Register Notice can be found here.