Two major automaker groups, the Association of Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, have agreed to to make rear-seat occupant alerts standard by the 2025 model year.

The groups, which represent the majority of auto manufacturers, made this decision in response to the growing epidemic of accidental child heatstroke deaths. Even though Congress already has a bill known as HOT CARS (which stands for Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats) in the works, the automaker groups’ proactive decision will most likely start the process before the legislation has passed.

Rear-occupant alerts would remind parents that their infants or young children are still in the back seat. According to ABC7, David Schwietert, interim CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said, “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.”

Even though there are still close to six years before these alert systems become standard, some cars already have them in place. General Motors has an alert reminder for all trucks, SUVs and four-door sedans (as of the 2019 model year). Hyundai is also helping to prevent parents from accidentally leaving their kiddos in the backseat unattended by pledging to make its alert system standard by 2022.

—Erica Loop

Featured photo: Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash



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