Automakers Agree To Back-Seat Alerts Amid Rising Hot-Cat Incidents

In an effort to prevent the rising number of child heatstroke related deaths, an alliance of car makers announced an agreement to include rear-seat alert systems in almost all new trucks and cars. The auto industry resisted in years past, but decided pending legislation in congress would make it a mandate soon.  The push comes after 53 children died in hot cars last year, a record.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers—trade groups that represent the bulk of domestic- and international-made cars and trucks in the U.S. market said they will add the rear-seat reminder systems on new cars by 2025.

The alters will include visuals to remind drivers to check the back seat before leaving the car. Many also consider motion-detection technology crucial to back-seat alert systems.  The systems automakers will implement can include door sequencing technology that will detect when a rear door is opened at the beginning of a trip, sending an alert if the door is not opened again at the end of the trip.

“Most of these deaths are caused by children being unintentionally left in vehicles, our members are taking action to prevent these tragic losses,” Association of Global Automakers chief executive John Bozzella said in a statement. “I’m not saying this is a perfect solution and technology will always improve, but this gets us a long way toward where we need to be, and gets us there quicker than hoping the bill gets floor time in the House and Senate, gets to conference, and gets to the President,” says Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, who sponsored the bill along with Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “This is a huge win and babies are going to live because of this.”

Many groups have pushed for these changes for years, and the solution also addresses 25% of heat-strokes where children get into cars on their own and get trapped. Hyundai and Kia already offer motion-detection, Nissan and Honda also deployed similar technologies last year.