Posted on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 at 3:02 pm
The New York Times reported that at least 41 children have died from heat stroke so far this year after being locked in the back seat of a parked vehicle. And, since 1990, more than 800 children have died of heat stroke in hot parked cars.
Unfortunately, many times the death is the result of a parent that simply forgot they left their child in a hot car. While modern technology warns us of all sorts of things, only a few automobiles currently warn us when we forget a child in a hot car.
However, Federal Law makers are currently taking a serious look at requiring vehicles to include some sort of system to warn us when we have left a child in the vehicle. Thus far, only Hyundai, General Motors and Nissan have voluntarily developed some sort of warning system. And, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has stated that it opposes a rule mandating such a system in all vehicles.
The Auto Alliance is advocating for education rather than a technological solution. Advocates for the adopting a technological solution note that in spite of efforts to educate the public over many years, the number of deaths each year had not declined. And, in almost every death, the death is simply the result of the driver being distracted or forgetting.
General Motors currently offers this safety feature on many of its 2017 models and Nissan offers it on its 2018 Path Finder. However, the Hyundai system is the only one that can actually detect someone in the back seat. The systems developed by General Motors and Nissan rely on analyzing door sequencing. Thus, if the rear door is open before the car is started, but not after it is turned off, a warning is sounded.
The proposed legislation will mandate that the technology be able to actually detect the presence of a child in the back seat.
Source: An article appearing at NYTimes.com on October 26, 2017 entitled “Forgetting a Child in a Back Seat Can Kill. Cars May Soon Warn You” by Paul Stenquist.