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Carmakers team up to prevent child heatstroke deaths

By the 2025 model year, nearly all new vehicles sold in the US and some parts of the global automotive market will come with electronic alerts to remind people to not leave children behind in the back seats.

This is because twenty carmakers representing 98 percent of new vehicles sold have agreed to install reminders in an effort to stop heatstroke deaths. So far this year, 39 children have died in the US after being left alone in cars during hot weather.

In what could go down as a warning signal to families, the advocacy group Kids and Cars says a record 54 children were killed last year.Vehicles would give drivers audible and visual alerts to check back seats every time they turn off the ignition.

According to David Schwietert, interim CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM);  “Automakers have been exploring ways to address this safety issue, and this commitment underscores how such innovations and increased awareness can help children right now”.

AAM is a trade group that includes a dozen large car companies. Members of Global Automakers, an association of manufacturers based outside the US, also are taking part.

Carmakers say the voluntary agreement will get the alerts installed faster than a government regulation, which takes four to eight years. Only Tesla didn’t agree to the reminders, but it is not a member of either trade association.

Several carmakers already are offering such a feature. General Motors, for instance, has a reminder on all of its four-door sedans, trucks and SUVs starting with the 2019 model year. The system issues alerts if the rear doors were opened before the start of a trip. Hyundai has pledged to make a similar system standard on its vehicles by 2022.

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