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Pedestrian killed by remotely activated car in New York City

Lexus-IS-300 A pedestrian who was standing between two parked cars was crushed to death by one of the car after it was remotely started by its owner. 21 year old Michael Kosanovich was standing between two parked Lexus cars on 148th Street in South Jamaica, Queens, NYC,  Friday night around 10:00 pm when one of them was remotely started by its owner and started to roll forward. Kosanovich was pinned between the Lexus and the other car. Bystanders ran to the rescue and pushed the car back but then the car moved forward again causing additional trauma to the pedestrian.  He suffered critical injuries and died in the hospital the following day.

A driver should never remotely start a vehicle without being aware of its surroundings

The remote engine starter is a common add-on on Lexus cars. It allows the owner to start the engine from outside the vehicle, to activate the air conditioner, the heater or the defroster before the driver gets in the car. The vehicle is not supposed to move after it is being remotely turned on. However, the user manual specifies the following:   “NEVER remotely start the engine if you are unaware of the circumstances surrounding the vehicle as it may cause a life threatening situation for those located in the vehicle’s vicinity.” The police didn’t release the identity of the owner of the Lexus who hasn’t been charged so far even though failure to exercise due care could probably apply to this case.

The Lexus manufacturer, Toyota North America, announced in June that it was planning to install automatic engine shut off and automatic park features to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning and roll-away which have been linked to motorists injuries in the past. The automatic park feature automatically shifts the car to park and applies the parking break if the driver exits the vehicle without doing it, preventing the vehicle to roll away.  These features are new and were most probably not installed on the 2002 Lexus IS300s that killed Michael Kosanovich.

Picture of a Lexus IS300: courtesy of Wikipedia

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