Automakers are working together.
It's been a brutal summer in many ways, but ten children dying from heatstroke in the back of cars in just 20 days was particularly brutal. At the last count, 35 kids died so far this summer. In 2018 alone, the death toll was 53 children. According to the advocacy group KidsandCars.org, 889 children in total died in hot cars from 1990 to 2018.
Now in 2019, that number has risen over 1,000 and we still have a few weeks of summer left. This is a serious issue we've covered before, and finally, the two trade groups representing Toyota, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and others, have committed to making rear-seat reminder technology standard by 2025.
The automakers are pushing for this ahead of the proposed Hot Cars Act of 2019. A press release says: "Under this commitment, automakers will innovate by introducing a wide range of approaches to help parents and caregivers remember to check the back seat as they leave a vehicle. At a minimum, these prompts will include a combination of auditory and visual alerts that will activate after a driver turns off a vehicle."
It's worth noting that some manufacturers have either announced or are already offering rear seat reminder systems, including Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Nissan, and General Motors.
Not everyone is impressed by this move from the automakers though. Joan Claybrook, a former administrator with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says that automakers should have implemented systems decades ago and described the announcement as "an outrageous attempt" to avoid enforceable legislation being made.
However, on the positive side, 2025 is only just over five years away and these systems will be implemented far quicker than if the automakers had waited for politicians to push legislation through.