New Radar Technology Approved by FCC Could Reduce Hot Car Deaths
The in-car systems are sensitive enough to detect a baby breathing, and could send alerts if a child is left behind in a car
To prevent the deaths of children left behind in hot cars, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cleared the way for auto manufacturers to install highly sensitive in-car radar systems that can detect the presence of a child in a vehicle and alert caregivers before it’s too late.
“Automakers should be utilizing every technology available to prevent kids dying in hot cars and this provides yet another avenue for them,” says Emily Thomas, automotive safety engineer at Consumer Reports. She says that the new radar-based systems have the potential to save many lives.
On average, more than 38 children die each year in hot cars, according to noheatstroke.org, an organization that closely monitors these incidents. Twenty automakers agreed in 2019 that they would install rear-seat reminder systems as standard equipment in their vehicles by the 2025 model year. Safety advocacy groups, including Consumer Reports, support federal legislation that would require effective heatstroke prevention systems in all new passenger vehicles.
“We’re urging companies and policymakers to give parents a simple, integrated, and reliable backstop to help keep the unimaginable from happening,” says William Wallace, CR’s manager of safety policy. “The technology is available to prevent these tragedies and should come standard on every new car.”