GM Looks to Prevent Heat Related Deaths With New Warning System

Posted by at 11:04 am on June 14, 2016

Rear Seat WarningAs the temperatures rise outside, children, pets and other personal items can be mistakenly left in a vehicle with blistering heat. GMC is looking to change that. Dubbed the “Rear Seat Reminder,” the feature was designed to remind drivers to check their back seat as they exit their Acadia. Rear Seat Reminder is standard on the redesigned 2017 Acadia. It is not available on the 2017 Acadia Limited, which is the older version.

General Motors said it intends to roll out the technology in other vehicles, but didn’t offer specific nameplates. The feature — designed, engineered in-house and patented by GM — works by monitoring the Acadia’s rear doors. It’s intended to activate when either rear door is opened and closed within 10 minutes before the vehicle is started, or if they are opened and closed while the vehicle is running, GMC said in a statement.

When that happens, the next time the Acadia is turned off, after a door activation, five audible chimes will sound and display a message in the dash that says “Rear Seat Reminder Look in Rear Seat.” Rear Seat Reminder does not apply to the third row, however.

“Whether it’s your lunch, laptop, pet or most importantly, your child, it’s easier than it seems to forget what’s in the back seat when moving between life’s events,” said Tricia Morrow, GM global safety strategy engineer, in a statement. “With this new feature, we are leading the charge to address this ongoing problem.”

Safercar.gov, the consumer website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said that a vehicle’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes. Even if it’s 60 degrees outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 110 degrees. A child can die when his or her body temperature reaches 107 degrees. Twenty-four children died as a result of vehicular heat stroke in 2015, according to the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University. According to the department’s research, 54 percent of the 661 child vehicular heat stroke deaths since 1998 were because the child was forgotten.

NHTSA said 12 children have died from vehicular heat stroke in 2016.

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