OVER THE YEARS I have driven a number of cars.
One, a "3 on the post stick shift" had the starter button under the clutch pedal; the clutch had to be pressed to the floorboard to press the starter button, assuring the car would not move even if it was in gear - the clutch disengaged the gears. equating to "Neutral" in automatic transmissions.
Later I had a car with a push button starter on the dashboard. I don't recall if the vehicle was a stick shift - 3 on the post or 4 on the floor - but manual or automatic, the button was moved from the floorboard to the dash. Either the clutch had to be engaged (if a manual transmission) or the automatic had to be in Park or Neutral for the starter to engage.
Then came the integrated key/starter assembly found on most cars even today.
THE STARTER BUTTON is a feature on some of the pricier models; the image is from an Audi "TT." CarMax has (had) a 2014 Audi "TT" listed for a few dollars less than $40k.
THERE IS A PROBLEM, it turns out, with separating the starter from the ignition switch.
Apparently there is no way to turn off the car's engine - other than to press the START button again.
After years of driving cars that are shut off when a key is turned, it is easy for many drivers to forget to press START to stop (the engine).
In the "olde days" of pushbutton starters on the floorboard or on the dash, the only thing the starter button did was activate the starter mechanism; once the engine "caught," the starter was released. Turning the ignition key shut off the engine (as could a number of other things such as the '49 Chevy's upside-down distributor cap when it fell off - been there, done that).
I'm a geezer - it beats the alternative - and I've had sticks (3 on the post and many on the floor) and automatics. I've not tried the flipper gear shifts - they remind me of many lunchtime hours playing pin ball at the kiosk just off Miami High's campus, "back in the day."
I don't consider a START switch, even one with both START and STOP painted on the button, to be progress. From a risk management point of view, asking drivers to relearn a process to kill an engine is asking for trouble.
Is there something "sexy" about a START button? Does carrying one less key really make a difference?
One thing about the Start/Stop button, it is NOT foolproof. Something needs to be done to assure that when a driver leaves the driver's seat, the vehicle automatically shuts down or, as t minimum locks the transmission or the axel(s) to prevent the unattended vehicle from moving.
What next? A return of the hand crank to start the vehicle?
Note hand crank above license plate
Note the woman behind the wheel