lockouts on the increase
as anti-theft devices
for vehicle lockout assistance have increased
significantly since the 1980's creating frustration
for millions of vehicle owners and potentially
dangerous situations for small children and pets,
the nation's largest motor club has announced.
This past year alone, AAA responded to nearly
5 million stranded motorists who either left their
car keys inside the passenger compartment or in
their trunk, or misplaced their car keys altogether.
One of the causes for such a sharp increase, says
AAA, may be the vehicles' own theft deterrent
"Most of the newer car models sold today
have high-tech locking systems that serve to protect
the consumer from theft but make it more difficult
to gain entry if you lose your key," says
Margaret Pittelkow, managing director, AAA's ERS
1980, lockouts represented just 1.4% of the total
requests for service. At present, lockouts now
represent 16.9% of the total overall call volume
in North America.
In an effort to stay warm during the cold winter
months, AAA commonly encounters motorists' requests
for lockout assistance due to their leaving the
keys in the ignition while they handle a brief
"Some vehicles will automatically lock after
just a few seconds, even while the key is still
in the ignition," said Pittelkow. "This
can create a frightening and potentially life-threatening
To help reduce the number of motorists stranded
due to a vehicle lockout this winter, AAA suggests
members get into the following practices:
making sure you have your keys in hand when exiting
the vehicle, closing the trunk or when locking
the car using manual or automatic door locks.
Keeping a plastic, credit card-type key or spare
key in your wallet, purse or briefcase.
Never place your keys on the front seat, in the
glove compartment, in the trunk or anywhere else
in the vehicle.
Placing your keys in your shirt or pants pocket
instead of jacket.
Never leave your vehicle running and unattended,
even during short periods of time.
Keep the identification code number of the key
written down on a piece of paper in your wallet.
It will be easier to have a copy of the key made
by a locksmith.
Give an extra set of keys to a trusted family
member or friend who is traveling with you.
Keep a spare set of car keys at work or at a place
you visit frequently. Never leaving children or
pets unattended in the vehicle with access to
Take the key out of the ignition prior to fueling
your gas tank.