Hot Car Deaths Prompt Push for Technology That Detects Kids in Vehicles
By Marshal, Rams Staff Editor
Each year, kids die from heatstroke after being left in hot vehicles. That is why government officials are requiring automakers to create and install technology that alerts drivers when a child is left in the back seat. Some studies suggest that these types of accidents began because of a new legislation requiring children to sit away from dangerous airbags in the back seat, a location in which they could easily be forgotten and left behind. Because of these accidents, about 37 children die while trapped in hot vehicles each year, July being the deadliest of the months. The death toll has totaled at least 729 children since 1998.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on July 3, had introduced a legislation requiring that all new vehicles come equipped with technology that will alert drivers if a child is left in the back seat once the car is turned off. This will prevent these kinds of deaths from happening. ”You get a warning when you leave the keys in the car,” Schakowsky said in a statement. “You should get a warning if you leave a child in the car.”
Jackie Gillan, the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a D.C.-based coalition of consumer health and safety groups, said that a few GM models will prompt drivers to make sure to check the back seat if they had opened a rear door at the beginning of their trip. Other types of technology “can detect the smallest breath from a newborn” and alert a driver to remember to take them out of the car. Gillan said, "We need to educate people to look before they lock, but on the other hand we have a technology that will solve the problem.”
This kind of technology can prevent these accidental deaths from happening by alerting the drivers that their children are still in the car, reminding them to take their children out. When this alert technology is in all vehicles, this kind of death may be non-existent or rare.