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Nearly all new vehicles by '25 to be sold with systems to avoid hot-car deaths

September 6, 2019
Major automakers said Sept. 4 that they have agreed to equip nearly all U.S. vehicles by model year 2025 with systems to remind motorists of passengers in the back seat, in an effort to avoid deaths of young children left behind in hot cars.
The announcement on so-called rear seat reminder systems comes as the U.S. Congress has been debating the issue. In July, the Senate Commerce Committee passed by voice vote legislation to eventually require automakers to install technology on new vehicles alerting exiting parents to check for children in the back seat.
The automakers from two trade groups representing nearly all automakers said the companies are committing to include audible and visual alerts on vehicles by the 2025 model year but could get an additional 12 months for vehicles about to be redesigned and could exempt emergency motor vehicles.
 
The 20 automakers taking part represent nearly 98 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales.
Lawmakers said more than 800 children in parked vehicles have died from heatstroke in the United States over the last two decades.
The systems generally operate to alert a driver to the presence of a child if a rear door was opened at the start of a trip. Some safety advocates want a more advanced system that would detect the actual presence of a child in the back seat.
Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican who chairs the Commerce Committee, said in an interview that the voluntary agreement makes the legislation unnecessary. Under the legislation being considered, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be compelled to write regulations and then automakers would have at least two years’ lead time.
"This gives us essentially everything we’ve asked for and it does it sooner," said Wicker, who added the Transportation Department plans to use some discretionary funds for a public information campaign. "It is a huge win."
The NHTSA typically takes years to write regulations. For example, a proposal to require automakers to send email notifications of recalls has been pending for more than three years.
 
 

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