FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. (CBS Newspath) — New federal regulations will require all new cars to be equipped with an alert system aimed at preventing hot car deaths.
Last year, authorities were called to this home in Fairfax County, Virginia, after a father accidentally left his 11-month-old daughter in the backseat of a car for several hours. The baby was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved.
An advocacy group called “Kids and Cars” reported an average of 39 children die in hot cars each year.
Now, a new provision in the infrastructure law could help prevent some of these tragedies. It requires automakers to install back seat alert systems in all new vehicles.
General Motors already has one of the most of their models.
Chevrolet’s Shad Balch said the rear-seat reminder on the models is activated just by opening the back door. So, the back door opens, and the car assumes you’re putting something back there. Then at the end of the drive, there is an audible chime.
“The whole goal [is] to get the driver’s attention as they’re getting out of the vehicle to take one last look at the backseat,” he said.
Some models, such as the Hyundai SUV, go a step further and are equipped with motion detectors.
“It’s an ultrasonic sensor that looks for motion inside the cabin,” Chief Safety Officer of Hyundai Motor North America Brian Latouf said.
If drivers walk away from the SUV while it detects movement in the backseat, an alarm will go off.
“We’ve gotten some strong positive responses to it,” Latouf said. “We think it’s the right thing to do.”
It’s not yet known when the rear-seat reminder mandate will go into effect. The law gives the Department of Transportation two years to implement the new rule.
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