New General Motors rear seat safety feature aims to prevent hot car deaths

- The extreme heat we have been suffering through lately can quickly turn dangerous. There have been at least 23 children this year across the country that have died after being left in a hot car – only two shy of the total killed last year.

We have done many stories on kids and even pets being left inside hot cars. In recent days in the United States, four children have died in hot cars.

Just this week in Virginia, a 19-year-old Falls Church woman was charged after her dog died after being left inside a hot car in a parking lot of a PetSmart store.

Back in April, a 2-year-old girl died after she was accidentally forgotten and left inside a car in Fairfax County by her mother’s boyfriend.

But there is new technology that could prevent these tragedies from happening. General Motors will have a standard feature in its 2017 GMC Acadia that will remind drivers to check their rear seats if the rear doors have been opened at the start of their trip.

“The vehicle senses that you have opened the door, it assumes you put a child or something else important that you are going to want to bring with you when you leave,” said Eric Abramson, the general manager of at Fitzgerald Buick GMC in Rockville, Maryland.

After a driver reaches his or her destination and turns off the vehicle, five audible chimes will ring out and the vehicle will provide a reminder on the dashboard to check the rear seat.

“I can’t speak for the manufacturer, but typically what most manufacturers do is they start it off on one model and then spread,” said Abramson. “It is a low cost addition that could seriously save a life. I would be very surprised if they didn’t spread it across not only the Buick and GMC brand, but across General Motors in general.

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