Just this past week, nonpartisan legislation was brought before Congress that has the potential to save hundreds of innocent lives. Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats, or the HOT CARS act of 2017, requires car manufacturers to implement technology that would alert drivers of a child left in the car once the car is shut off and before the caregiver exits the vehicle. Pediatric heat stroke due to a child being left in a car unintentionally is a common occurrence and is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle-related fatalities. In fact, heat stroke in cars has been responsible for over 800 deaths since 1990. The proposed bill would apply only to new vehicles, so no modifications on current models would be required. Jannette Fennell, founder of KidsAndCars.org and chief proponent of the new bill says, “It’s not about politics, it’s not about who is right and wrong. It is about safety.” Of course, there is always the potential for pushback from certain manufacturers who don’t want to be responsible for the cost and effort of implementing the new technology.
GMC, however, is already ahead of the game. Their Rear Seat Reminder technology is standard on more than 20 models, and come 2018, even more, will have this flagship feature available. The idea behind the technology is simple but effective. If a rear door is opened when the vehicle is running, or up to 10 minutes before it starts, then an instrument panel alert accompanied by 5 chimes will occur upon turning off the vehicle. Sure, there will be instances when the alert is unfounded, like in the instance of groceries or other inanimate items being placed and stored in the backseat, but it absolutely doesn’t hurt to have that extra level of protection to save countless children and even pets.
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If all goes to plan, this bill will pass and the Secretary of Transportation will issue a rule requiring all passenger vehicles to have some sort of alert system, similar to what is already available in GMC vehicles. In the meantime, there are alternatives currently available to help prevent these unnecessary fatalities. Once such option is the brainchild of two entrepreneurial dads called Sense-A-Life, which is essentially a program that involves sensors to warn you if someone is left behind. Another more traditional approach is putting something important in the backseat with your child, such as your cell phone, wallet, purse, or even your left shoe. Even if you feel completely confident that you would never leave a child in a car unattended, summer is approaching and with it, hot weather, so A1 Auto Transport strongly recommends setting a routine or exploring technologically based alternatives to ensuring this terrible scenario never happens to you or your loved ones.
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