It’s sad but true: too many parents and caregivers forget small children and even babies in cars absentmindedly. Sometimes it ends in tragedy, and sometimes it’s merely a close call. But we have technology to prevent the situation, and soon it will be available for pretty much every car brand in North America.
Right now, certain GM, Subaru, Nissan, and Kia vehicles already have rear-seat occupant alerts. Hyundai will be joining the club in 2022. Pretty much all other automakers in North America will have systems as standard equipment by 2025. The Association of Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers have both agreed to automatically install the tech into every vehicle with a backseat, covering just about every car on the market.
This comes as a bill in U.S. Congress has advanced, which would compel automakers to add the system. It’s a good thing, but there is a downside: we’re awash in vehicle alerts these days.
If you’ve driven a car with parking sensors, rear cross-path detection, blindspot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane guidance, and other systems, then you already know there’s almost always a chime, beep, flashing light, or whatever trying to get your attention. The problem is over time people become desensitized to these alerts, which would defeat their very purpose.
Will people pay attention to these alerts? Only time will tell, but hopefully it ends the senseless fatalities of children left in hot cars.