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New Safety Feature May Reduce Hot Car Deaths

It’s summertime and that means one thing for many people: hot weather. According to a 2018 study published in the journal Temperature, an average of 37 children die in the United States every year. Their cause of death is usually heat stroke due to being left in hot vehicles.

The study also looked at how quickly temperatures can rise inside vehicles. On a day that the temperature reached 95 degrees, the inside of the car reached 116 degrees within an hour of being in the direct sun. A car’s dashboard can get even hotter, reaching a scalding 157 degrees and the steering wheel can reach 127 degrees. Even in the shade, cars reached temperatures of 100 degrees within one hour. 

ABC 7 New York reports that automaker Nissan has added safety features that hope to prevent children from dying in hot car deaths. Nissan has introduced a “rear door alert” technology that is now standard on 10 of its 2019 model vehicles. The patented safety feature was first installed in the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder. It provides two levels of warning to alert drivers. 

The system works via sensors that recognize when the rear passenger doors are opened and closed. At the end of the trip, a warning light in the dash lets drivers know to check the rear seat for all articles. 

If the sensor does not detect that the rear door has been opened again, the vehicle will then alert the driver through a series of audible honks. The honking will continue until the driver returns to the vehicle and opens and closes the rear door. 

Nissan plans to have this alert system as a standard option in all vehicles by 2022. 

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