Hyundai Expands Child Monitoring SystemsSeptember 4, 2019
According to recent data, 52 children suffered from fatal heat-related injuries after being left inside of hot cars in 2018, stating that this was the highest number of deaths from vehicular heatstroke in the past 21 years. As for 2019, there have been 24 thus far. The heat level inside a car can rise to dangerous levels, even when the outside temperatures are not high. Consumer Reports testing results showed that at 61 degrees Fahrenheit, the inside temperature of a closed car could rise to 105 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour.
Hyundai has a safety feature that addresses this issue. They recently announced that their Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) child-monitoring system would be standard on all of their new vehicles by 2022. For now, their two models with standard ROA equipment are the 2020 Palisade and Santa Fe. Other manufacturers that offer vehicles with rear-seat reminders include Nissan and General Motors.
How Rear Occupant Alert Works
Hyundai’s more advanced ROA uses an ultrasonic motion sensor installed in the ceiling behind the rear seat. These improved systems are designed to remind drivers not to leave children or pets in their backseat when leaving their vehicles. The two-step system detects when a rear door is opened or closed before the vehicle is started, and then reminds the driver to check their backseat. This is done through a message on the center instrument cluster. It also has an ultrasonic sensor that detects movement in the backseat. It can then use its Blue Link connected car system, if equipped and active, to alert the driver. It will also honk the vehicle’s horn repeatedly.
Consumer Reports tested Hyundai’s system, but felt that the ultrasonic sensor was not completely reliable. An Automotive Safety Engineer implied that the equipment may not be sensitive enough to detect the actions of an infant, or the rising and falling of a chest while sleeping. She explained that the movements needed to be more consistent and larger to be recognized.
Drivers that do not have ROA systems in their vehicles should take extra care of their rear seat passengers. It is important to never leave a child or pet in an unattended vehicle, since there are many hazards in addition to heatstroke. Reminders such as leaving the child’s backpack or the pet’s leash in the front seat can save lives; drivers can leave their own purse, jacket, and other needed items in the backseat.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Vehicle Occupant Safety
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