- two major automaker groups have agreed to equip all their passenger vehicles with rear-seat occupant reminder technology, starting in the 2025 model year.
- vehicles will start rolling out the reminder systems in new models starting in 2022.
- the reminder systems are an effort to avoid deaths from heatstroke when children are accidentally left unattended in the back seats of vehicles.
the association of global automakers and the alliance of automobile manufacturers, two groups that include nearly every carmaker that serves the u.s. market, have agreed they'll put rear-seat occupant alerts into their entire passenger-car fleets as standard. the move is in response to the problem of parents and caregivers accidentally leaving children in the back seat of a hot car. the alert systems will become standard in the 2025 model year or sooner, the organizations announced this week.
the automakers have moved out ahead of congress, which has a bill for the hot cars (helping overcome trauma for children alone in rear seats) act in the works that would mandate this kind of alert system.
will the alerts be annoying?
for those who are already irritated by the number of audible alerts their vehicles emit, this may not seem like good news, but at least in this case it's an annoyance that could save lives. the automaker groups said in statements that the types of alert systems they'll use will vary. "at a minimum, these prompts will include a combination of auditory and visual alerts that will activate after a driver turns off the vehicle," they said.
deaths when children are left in cars, even in milder outdoor temperatures, are distressingly frequent; the most recent to make the news happened on september 3 in gilbert, arizona, and involved a three-year-old, so the problem goes beyond infants in rear-facing seats. it only takes 10 minutes for a car's interior temperature to heat up by as much as 20 degrees fahrenheit, and a child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's, the association of global automakers pointed out. to date, there have been 39 child deaths this year as a result of a hot car, involving children from newborns to age four, according to child safety advocacy group kids and cars.