The Hot Cars Act of 2016
On September 15, 2016, U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-13th OH), Peter King (R-2nd NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-9th IL) introduced the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats Act (HOT CARS Act of 2016, H.R. 6041), a critical piece of legislation that would prevent children from being needlessly hurt when left alone in vehicles.
By 2019, the legislation calls for all passenger vehicles to be “equipped with technology to provide an alert that a child or unattended passenger remains in a rear seating position after the vehicle motor is deactivated.”
As unfathomable as leaving a helpless child in a hot car is, it is a problem that continues to persist in our society. Just this past Saturday, October 8, 2016, a 2 year old girl in Salisbury, North Carolina became the 37th child this year to die from a heatstroke after being left unattended in a car for more than nine hours.
The automotive industry is now challenged to quickly produce and bring to market technology that not only can accurately identify an unattended passenger, but appropriately and effectively alert the owner and authorities, should the situation become dangerous and life threatening. This is in large part thanks to this bill that is being circulated and hopefully passed.
For children, fatal and non-fatal auto incidents are increasingly occurring close to home in non-traffic situations. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates over 500 people, of which almost 40 are children under the age of 14, are killed every year in non-traffic crashes occurring off public roads or highways, generally in parking lots or driveways.
Young children can unlock, climb and maneuver their way into vehicles which are often out of sight and sound to parents and caregivers. Sadly, for babies who often fall asleep in their car seats and become silent, unobtrusive passengers, their rear-facing seats look about the same from the front seat whether occupied or not. Such situations become especially dangerous when the vehicle is parked outside in direct sunlight. Internal temperatures can quickly reach dangerous levels in the range 130°F – 170°F, even when outside temperatures are only 80°F – 100°F.
It is heartbreaking each time a story breaks with news of yet another fatality from such circumstances. Children being left behind in vehicles for prolonged periods of time represents a crisis that can be eliminated. Just as the seatbelt, airbag, or backup camera reduced injuries and deaths, back seat monitoring technologies will soon be employed to combat this particular problem and save lives.
What Representatives Ryan, King and Schakowsky are doing is critical for bringing this issue to the forefront in order to mandate the development of a solution and save lives in the process. We need to do all we can to save lives, especially those of innocent children.
To find out more about EDGE3, and how we’re combining vision analytics with a number of other sensing technologies to solve this problem, please visit: http://edge3technologies.com/oms/