WASHINGTON – Legislation was introduced last week which aims to prevent children dying after being left in hot cars. The bill would require auto makers to install a warning system to alert drivers if a child is still in the backseat.
The Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats Act (HOT CARS Act of 2016, HR6041) was introduced by U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-13th OH), Peter King (R-2nd-NY), and Jan Schakowsky 9D-9th-IL).
The bi-partisan effort has already received widespread support from more than fifteen of the nation’s leading public health, consumer and safety organizations, as well as from an expert in neuroscience and the brain memory system.
The HOT CARS Act would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue a final rule within two years for a reminder system to alert the driver if a child is left unattended in a vehicle.
“Our vehicles are filled with reminder systems,” says Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org. “You get a buzz if you forget to buckle up, if your car door is not closed properly, you receive a warning. Newer vehicles let us know if our tire pressure needs to be tweaked. So, if all these reminder systems are possible, how can we allow children to continue to die in hot vehicles each and every year?”
Some car manufacturers have already installed these alerts. GM introduced a new rear seat reminder feature in June on the 2017 Acadia that gives a warning tone and alerts the driver to look in the rear seat.
“It was designed in response to the tremendous amount of heatstroke deaths that we see every year,” Tricia Morrow, GM’s global safety strategy engineer told Today.com. “We saw this as a problem for the industry.”
Read the full bill here.