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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Employment Law -- Employee on Thursday, March 7, 2013.
Suburu Recall for Zombie Cars!

Who says electronic engine controls are fool proof? Can cars start on their own without a driver in the vehicle? Can vehicle engines be turned on without someone pressing the start button? Apparently, the answer is yes according to Suburu. On February 22, 2013, Suburu filed a Defect Information Report (DIR) with NHTSA pursuant to 49 CFR 573 for vehicles the press described as zombie cars. A copy can be read by clicking here. What is a zombie car as the press has described this recall? While Rap Genius has not opined on the subject, a fair definition would necessarily include vehicles with engines that start without any input from a driver, or even a passenger. It’s debatable whether the 1958 Plymouth Fury in Christine was a zombie, as it was sentient. Nevertheless, Suburu admitted that certain 2010 to 2012 Legacy and Outback vehicles 2012 to 2103 Suburu Imprezas and 2013 XV Crosstrek vehicles could receive an engine start request without user input. In other words, a fob could send an incorrect electronic message to a car, telling the engine, let’s go. The vehicles could run up to 15 minutes by themselves according to Suburu. (it’s unclear why 15 minutes, but that may be a fail safe.) The DIR was conspicuously silent whether Suburu received any field complaints. However, Suburu did admit such a vehicle could pose a safety concern due to carbon monoxide build up. If you have one of the affected vehicles, get your vehicle repaired as soon as possible. A copy of the repair procedures can be accessed here.