Cars that can be left to work for hours, even after the driver left the vehicle, are guilty of death. Since 2006, a total of 37 people have been killed and 80 have been injured by carbon monoxide gas after the drivers left the vehicle with a button in the garage, according to KidsAndCars. Toyota and Lexus vehicles have been involved in almost half of these incidents, a spokeswoman said. Lexus is Toyota's luxury division.
Toyota will add the engine closure feature to most vehicles from 2020.
This type of error is particularly easy to do in hybrid vehicles, as the petrol engine in the hybrid vehicle often does not work when the vehicle is not moving. This can make it difficult to determine whether the car is off. If not, the gasoline engine will be started after a short while the car batteries begin to lose their charges. It can even happen with non-hybrid vehicles, as many cars today have very quiet engines that are almost silent on an empty walk.
Keyless ignition allows drivers to launch their vehicles by pressing the button, as long as the remote key is with them inside the vehicle. This feature has been offered in the US market since the early 2000s and is now a very common occurrence on new cars. Many new car models do not offer the option to ignite keys.
"The closing function is extremely important because we are people and when the way we turn on and off our vehicles so dramatically change, new security features are needed," said Janette Fennell, founder of KidsAndCars.org, the National Child Safety Organization.
The company would not say how long the engine could be left to shut itself off automatically.
Toyota will also add even more noticeable warning sounds and visual warnings to new models so drivers will be aware that the engine is on while leaving the vehicle, the car manufacturer said. In the future, drivers will also be able to be alerted by the Smartphone application that the car is still on.
Toyota vehicles have warned of the "engine" since 2003, according to a car maker's announcement. These new warnings will be "enhanced" by louder sound alerts. Fennel also welcomed Toyota's decision to make it easier for drivers to find out when the car was running.
Toyota will also add features to some vehicles that will automatically switch it to the park when the vehicle is turned off. This system will be available only on vehicles with electronic selectors, not on mechanical levers.
Toyota currently has no plans to add these features to earlier models, said a spokeswoman.