“Under this commitment, automakers will innovate by introducing a wide range of approaches to help parents and caregivers remember to check the back seat as they leave a vehicle,” the statement says. “At a minimum, these prompts will include a combination of auditory and visual alerts that will activate after a driver turns off a vehicle.”
Safety organizations like CarsAndKids.org believe that more precise steps should be taken, including monitoring systems that would alert the driver of the presence of a child. As CR highlights, when a parent forgets a child in the locked, hot car, he or she has a memory lapse. No parent believes this could happen to them, so chances of them acting proactively and activate the rear-seat reminder are slim. For more efficiency, automakers should turn on the reminder system before the vehicle even leaves the factory.
Integrated reminder systems are a great first step, but automakers must not stop at that, the same organizations say. At the same time, federal legislation must exist to enforce the use of the life-saving technology.
Wade Newton, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers trade group, says that the agreement is a time-saving alternative for the Hot Cars Act, though probably not a replacement. “A voluntary agreement is quicker than a rule-making process,” Newton says for Consumer Reports. “A federal rule-making at NHTSA can take five to eight years to be finalized, and that’s before the technology can even start rolling out.”