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Thomas and Ann MacKinnon of Bellevue Passed Away In May After Car Was Left On, Emitting CO

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Stop CO Poisoning Exposures (SCOPE) Act, which would require vehicles with keyless ignitions to automatically shut off after a certain amount of time in order to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning:

“Many people inadvertently leave their vehicles with keyless ignition running, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. This happened to Thomas and Ann MacKinnon of Bellevue who tragically lost their lives. I worked with the MacKinnons’ daughter, Sharon Shore, to introduce the bipartisan SCOPE Act. This bill will prevent these senseless deaths and keep families safe,” said Senator Fischer.

“I was honored to meet with Senator Fischer while I was in Washington D.C., in September. Her interest and engagement on this issue are not only greatly appreciated, but a true honor for my parents, my brother David MacKinnon, myself, and our family. I am convinced this legislation and making this issue more widely known will save lives,” said Sharon Shore.

More information on the SCOPE Act:

Keyless ignitions are now standard in over half of the 17 million new vehicles sold in the United States. Because keyless ignitions do not require a key to shut off the vehicle’s engine, drivers can return home without realizing that their car is still running, potentially filling up an attached garage with deadly CO poisoning. At least 43 people have died since 2006 as a result of CO poisoning due to keyless ignition.

The SCOPE Act would help prevent these tragic deaths by requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to complete a rulemaking to require vehicles with keyless ignitions to automatically shut off after a certain period of time, preventing the car from continuing to emit toxic CO.  Because different vehicles emit CO at different rates, this bill would authorize NHTSA to establish different periods after which a vehicle would have to shut off.  

Click here to read more about the MacKinnons’ tragic story in the Omaha World-Herald.