An advocate group that aims to have new rules implemented to prevent hot car deaths has reached out to General Motors CEO Mary Barra to help further their cause.
The group, KidsAndCars.org, has created a bill that it calls the Hot Cars Act of 2019, which would require all new vehicles to come equipped with a sensor and alarm that would go off if a child was detected in the back of a vehicle while it was turned off. It also proposes that the system contact authorities in such an instance.
According to ABC, the company has been working to convince legislators to put the bill forth, but has not had any luck thus far. They have now reached out to GM CEO Mary Barra over the matter and asked the executive to consider installing such technology in all of its vehicles from now on.
The automaker introduced a Rear Seat Reminder system in 2017, which will alert the driver if it believes they have left a child or pet in the back seat. The system detects whether the vehicle’s rear doors have been opened and sends a chime and visual alert to the driver when they shut the car off, reminding them to check the rear for pets or children.
As of August 19, KidsAndCars.org said ten kids had been killed in hot cars in the past twenty days alone.
“The numbers continue to rise,” said organization representative Amber Rollins. “Legislators need to be aware of this issue and how serious it is and they want to hear from their constituents.”
Auto industry reps allegedly told KidsAndCars.org that there would be reliable way to implement such a system and prefers to support awareness campaigns surrounding hot car deaths as opposed to supporting mandator technology.
“The auto industry believes education and awareness are the answer,” she told ABC. “And we have been educating and raising awareness for twenty years.”
Hyundai and Kia have a rear occupant alert system on their vehicles, which use ultrasonic sensors to detect movement in the back seats and send a reminder to the driver when they shut off the vehicle. If the driver leaves the shut off vehicle and movement in the rear seats is still detected, the vehicle will honk its horn, flash its lights and send an alert to the driver’s smartphone via the automaker’s connectivity system.
KidsAndCars.org says 35 hot car deaths involving children have been recorded so far in 2019.