Keyless car deaths devastate Palm Beach County as calls for action mount

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

By Charles Elmore – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Palm Beach County has emerged as by far the nation’s hardest-hit community for deaths linked to keyless vehicle ignition systems, accounting for five of 14 known U.S. fatalities since 2009.

One of Florida’s top elected officials says federal regulations expected this month “have been sitting idle for far too long.”

The latest victim: Mona Sternbach, 84, of Boynton Beach. In September, she was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in her bedroom. Her purse contained the keyless fob to her still-running vehicle in the garage, investigators said.

“It should be noted the fob does not have to be near the vehicle once it is running to continue to operate,” a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s report observed.

Calls are growing for regulators to require tougher safeguards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue rules for carmakers this month after years of review, though agency officials declined to discuss details of what the final version might say.


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