September 9, 2019
By the 2025 model year, nearly all new vehicles sold in the United States will provide electronic audible and visual reminders on the dashboard for drivers to check rear seats before they turn off the ignition, so they don’t leave children behind, ABC News reports.
Indeed, according to the network news outlet, already 20 automakers representing 98% of new vehicles sold have agreed to install such alerts in an effort to stop heatstroke deaths.
So far this year 37 children have died nationwide after being left alone in cars during hot weather. The advocacy group Kids and Cars says a record 53 children were killed last year.
“Automakers have been exploring ways to address this safety issue, and this commitment underscores how such innovations and increased awareness can help children right now,” David Schwietert, Interim CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group that includes a dozen large car companies, told ABC News. Members of the Association of Global Automakers, a group of manufacturers based outside the United States, also are taking part.
Automakers say the voluntary agreement will get the alerts installed faster than a government regulation, which takes four to eight years.
Only Tesla didn’t agree to the reminders. The car company has not responded to requests for comment.
Several automakers already are offering the feature. General Motors, for instance, has a reminder on all of its four-door sedans, trucks and SUVs starting with the 2019 model year. Hyundai has pledged to make a similar system standard on its vehicles by 2022.
The auto alliance says the agreement is a minimum and doesn’t preclude automakers from coming up with more sophisticated solutions.
ABC News reports that the U.S. House is considering a bill that would require such alerts.
Research contact: @ABC