HUNTINGTON/CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Legislation has been introduced that would require automakers to put backseat reminder systems in all cars as standard equipment.
Lawmakers, including Tim Ryan of Ohio, joined children’s safety advocates to propose the bipartisan HOT CARS bill on Wednesday.
The Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats Act, also known as the HOT CARS Act of 2017, would require the Secretary of Transportation to issue a rule requiring all new passenger vehicles to be equipped with an alert system that would remind drivers about a backseat passenger after the car has been turned off.
The idea is similar to many alerts already in place, like a ding or alarm when you leave your headlights on, your keys in the ignition or have low tire pressure.
There are not specific requirements to automakers other than that the alert must be audible and visual.
According to Kids and Cars, nine children have already died in hot cars in 2017.
Ryan says the cost wouldn’t be more than the alert systems already in place.
Lawmakers praised General Motors, which is currently offering the “rear seat reminder” in several of its 2017 models.
Parents say any extra cost would be worth it.
“Anything would be helpful,” Stephanie Dillow said. “If the price rises on the cars, if it could save a child’s life. It’s worth it, one hundred percent.”
While it’s a step in the right direction, Huntington traffic safety director Beau Evans says it could take a while to see the technology in action.
“Some people are still driving 1970s vehicles, so the cycle through would have to be 20, 30 some years before we see a majority of the vehicles on the roadway having this technology,” Evans said.
He says there are several reminders for parents, including a sticker for your window that is also a car thermometer.