With temperatures at their summer peak, the US Senate is pushing a bill that would require automakers to include rear seat alarm technology. Child advocates are hoping that such a reminder will prevent parents from leaving a child in the rear seat of a hot car. Today Nissan announced it is ahead of the game with the new Rear Door Alert (RDA).
The technology detects if a rear door was opened prior to starting the car. If the door is not re-opened after the car is put in park and the ignition turned off, it sets off a series of warnings. First a visual warning is given in the gauge cluster. If the driver doesn’t respond, the car will take it one step further and give the horn a series of chirps.
For those of us who use the backseat just for groceries, gym bags and other non-living items, RDA can be configured or turned off completely from the instrument cluster.
GM also offers a similar technology, called Rear Seat Reminder, with a visual alert in the gauge cluster and five chimes, similar to a seatbelt warning. Nissan’s decision to use the horn as the audible warning takes it up a whole other level.
More than two dozen child and safety groups support the nascent bill in the Senate. Advocacy group Kids in Cars says that since 1998, an average 37 children per year that have died due to heatstroke from being left in a car. That’s one every nine days.
Nissan’s Rear Door Alert will debut as standard fare on the three-row 2018 Pathfinder when it goes on sale in September. Expect it to roll out on other models in the coming years.