Couple Trapped in “Keyless” Mazda 3 For 13 Hours Due to Misunderstanding

Technology is moving at such a rapid pace that many people have trouble keeping up with it. It doesn’t help that close to no one reads the manual, nor is informed about all the functions either.

Having issues with a laptop is one thing; getting locked into a car for hours is much more serious. That’s exactly what happened to Mollieanne (65) and Brian (68) Smith, who on November 5 were trapped into their Mazda 3 for 13 hours due to a misunderstanding.

The couple had left the keyless entry transponder outside the car and the manual in the house. Due to a lack of information and a combination of stress and night time, they were led to believe the only way out was by smashing a window – which they couldn’t achieve.

They did sound the horn but, as Mrs Smith said, it was Guy Fawkes night so, obviously, the sound was drowned out. They were in the car from around 7 pm until 7:45 the next morning, with Mrs. Smith unconscious and Mr Smith having trouble breathing.

Mr. Smith, who describes himself as “very methodical”, told the Otago Daily Times that he couldn’t find the unlocking mechanism for the door: “Once I found out how simple it was to unlock, I kicked myself that I did not find this way out… I had this mind-set that I did not have the transponder so I could not get out.”

That’s because, he said, the salesperson had made it seem like the car wouldn’t work without the transponder, and it was only afterwards he learned the locking mechanism worked the same way as conventional, non-keyless entry cars.

The couple went public because the owners of “keyless” cars, especially older people with little or no experience in technology, need to educate themselves. Mrs. Smith said she had received five phone calls from people reporting similar issues.

Mazda New Zealand general manager Glen Harris commented that the report was an industry first: “It’s not a design flaw with the car. What we have said to the network is, with new technologies, don’t forget to show customers how to use them in their entirety and how to override them. There is always a manual process to override them.”

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  • I actually feel bad for that couple because I know that for some people new technology can be very tricky and difficult to understand. i.e.: my parents 🙂

  • Six_Tymes

    poor folks, lucky to be alive

  • MG

    WHO THE FU.. IS Guy Fawkes?

    • emjayay

      Try Google or go right to Wikipedia.

      • MG

        SARCASM.

        • dilligaf

          SARCASM. = lowest form of wit

          • Six_Tymes

            true.

    • john1168

      LMAO! I was thinking the same thing:)

  • Don’t Bogart that Joint

    Man, those old folks need to stay off the weed.

    • Six_Tymes

      LOL

  • CrazyPants

    Are you kidding me?? So it took Mr. Methodical 13hrs to find the door lock button??
    How about pressing every single button in the car. That would be methodical…
    I can understand you might not know how something works, but it’s a car, not a space shuttle with a million buttons.

    Lucky they didn’t die. but wow…

    • poke

      And the unlocking button is on the same place that it was from years in most of the cars. Next to the door handle, in red colour. Not that difficult to find. Probably they got extremelly nervous and can’t got focus.

  • dinn

    Monty Python? 🙂

  • Dr Zoidberg

    Mazda’s new strapline: The car you’ll be dying to get out of.

  • groman

    Reminds me of the old joke about the (fill in the desired minority here) who locked his keys in his car. It took him two hours to rescue his family.

  • ck

    So if they were locked inside of the car without the transponder, how did it lock in the first place? It wouldn’t lock itself so one of them must have pushed the lock button. 68 is not old. These 2 were just looking for a story to tell.

    • poke

      Most of the cars will lock automatically seconds after you unlock it, if you don’t open any door with the transponder out of it. My ’07 focus does.

  • Kash

    Every car should come with 2 interiors: Regular & Scared of Technology

    • Blastergamer

      No, rather the salesperson should teach better, or better, the manufacturer with clearly written manual, to teach how the technology works and make it easy to use with no sluggish issues. A Merc S-class or BMW i3/i8 and McLarens would be completely meaningless without the tech, and a Tesla won’t be functional at all.

      The problem was just the unclear instruction of the salesperson, and senior people will have learning issues on new stuff. (Heck, even my Gen-X mom still has problems to understand computers and functions.

      • Kash

        Well of course there are cars that wouldn’t be the same without it, but if someone is buying a Model S, or i3/i8 or even a McLaren, they’re generally more technologically competent. But this is a Mazda 3 and this guy didn’t think to ask a question to the salesperson and inferred (he even admits that) that the car wouldn’t work without the transponder. But why did they get in the car without the manual, i understand getting in without the key, but without the manual and closing the door? I dunno, i agree with CK (next comment down). It sounds like these people were just looking for a story to tell.

        This isn’t a case of “lacking information” this is a case of “Mr. Methodical” not being as methodical as he claims to be and not being smart enough to verify his inference by asking a simple question, instead he assumed. Salespersons deal with, what, 40 people a day in and out looking at cars most of which probably test drive one? How are they supposed to know who does and doesn’t know how these kinds of things work if the people don’t speak up. The blame falls squarely on Mr. and Mrs. Methodical. If you don’t know how to work something, don’t try and operate it without the directions in hand or someone there who knows how it works, like one of their children or grandchildren. Or don’t buy it at all. There’s plenty of used cars in the world, and even new ones, that are far less difficult to operate.

  • Felipe

    The point is not the Keyless system, but they can not find the unlock button 🙁 OMG. #Welcome to the future.

  • Bo Hanan

    No Phone, Med-Alert?

  • SiliconAddic

    *Sighs* The problem? This isn’t new tech. OK the door handles couldn’t open. But the little manual locks on doors have been there in some form or another since the dawn of time. The reality is people are stupid.

  • Chris

    I don’t think I can truly fathom the fucking stupidity of those two. Like no matter old you are if you get locked inside a car for thirteen hours and can’t figure out how to leave, you fucking deserve to be locked in that car

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