Elderly Couple Nearly Dies After Locking Themselves in Mazda

As a locksmith in Philadelphia, we see a lot of cases where individuals lock themselves out of vehicles. In fact, that makes up a large part of what we at Phila-Locksmith do. We have, however, never received an emergency call from someone who was locked inside of their vehicle. The reason that this has yet to happen is that it is impossible to lock yourself inside of car without extenuating circumstances. One couple in New Zealand did not realize this and their mistake was nearly fatal. The couple, Mollieanne and Brian Smith, believed that they had become locked inside of their car when they entered the vehicle without the keyless fob. It was their belief that the vehicle, a Mazda 3 hatchback, could not be opened without the fob from the outside or the inside.

The nearly tragic event took place in early November on Guy Fawkes day. The couple entered the vehicle which was parked inside of their garage at nighttime, but once inside they realized that they had left the fob outside of the vehicle. It was at this point that the couple believed that they had become locked in their Mazda. Mr. and Mrs. Smith attempted to alert neighbors to their situation by yelling and sounding the horn. No one was able to hear them, likely because of fireworks, the night that they became trapped in the vehicle. The next day, neighbors found the elderly couple and assisted getting them out of the vehicle. At this point Mrs. Smith had become unconscious and Mr. Smith has having trouble breathing. Emergency responders who arrived on scene said that if they had remained inside of the vehicle for another half hour, they likely would have died of suffocation.

The General Manager of Mazda in New Zealand said that there was no design flaw in the Mazda 3 keyless ignition system. Not only did he state that he had not heard of a situation like this arising before, but also that the keyless ignition system has a manual unlock just above the door handle, as you would find in any standard or transponder car key system. Had the couple been aware of this, they would have been able to avoid the entire situation.

Mrs. Smith claims that the salespeople for vehicles with keyless ignitions need to offer full explanations of all manual overrides so that a situation like this can be avoided. This is a fair point, dealerships need to be aware that not all individuals purchasing newer model vehicles are the most technically savvy people. While a manual door override may seem like common sense to many people, it is important for dealerships to ensure that they are assuming nothing to avoid any liability that they may have in the future.

Benefits of Keyless Ignition Systems

Most car manufacturers are moving, or already have moved, a majority of their vehicles to a keyless entry system. The reason for this is not only for convenience and security, but also for the driver’s own safety. In light of the ignition switch recall that General Motors went through earlier this year, it was revealed that many of the deaths or injuries could have been avoided if a keyless ignition was in place rather than a traditional blade key. Security was the initial reason that many car manufacturers began placing keyless systems in their vehicle. While transponder car keys did advance the automotive security that many vehicles had, there were still ways to compromise security. Keyless entry and transponder car key systems have made it more difficult for thieves to get possession of your vehicle, but also made it more difficult, and expensive, to get automotive locksmith services completed for your vehicle. In the long run, keyless ignition systems offer such a combination of convenience, security and safety that the benefits outweigh the additional cost of replacement fobs.


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