Some lawmakers want to require alerts that would remind parents to check for children in the backseat before leaving their vehicle.
Automakers in the U.S. would be required to install technology on new vehicles under legislation introduced in Congress in response to deaths of children left behind in hot cars. Over the last 2 decades, more than 800 children have died of heatstroke in cars in the U.S alone. According to KidsandCars, on average, 38 children die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles every year. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.
The bill would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to write new rules within two years mandating the introduction of “a distinct auditory and visual alert” and it would also require a feasibility study for retrofitting existing vehicles with the system according to Endgadget.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG and other major automakers, said it will review any legislative proposals, but will keep in mind that fewer than 13 per cent of new car buyers have a child six years old or younger. The proposal is sponsored by a number of lawmakers including Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Representative for Illinois's 9th congressional district, who said: “In the vast majority of those cases, the adult did not realize the child was inside the car. It’s not enough to educate parents about the risks.”
She added that like many newer vehicles that alert drivers if they leave their keys behind, “you should get a warning if you leave a child in the car.”
Also, the promoters noted that most vehicles alert drivers when they leave the headlights on or fail to close a door. They say it should be no different when you forget your kid. "Technologies alerting drivers to check their backseats for children exists today but has not been widely deployed," Congressman Frank Pallone, said.