Could Radar Technology Prevent Hot Car Tragedies?

Ru Chen
· 3 min read
As summer comes to a close across America, hot car deaths see no sign of stopping.
In just 10 minutes, a car’s heat can become too much to bear. Heatstroke can kill within minutes. Luckily, a new kind of
might be effective in preventing these tragedies.
Cars heat up extremely fast when left in direct sunlight.

Hot car deaths are as bad as ever

Vehicular heatstroke is a terrible risk, especially to children who can’t regulate temperature well.
Duluth News Tribune
reported on the heartbreaking news that happened just recently.
A 3-year-old boy was trapped in a car in Minnesota. He was brought to a hospital but ultimately succumbed to the heat damage.
He is survived by his twin brother, who has recovered and been released from Essentia Health in Duluth.
The two boys had managed to get into the car by themselves and became stuck inside. 90 minutes after being reported missing, they were found unresponsive.
This was sadly far from the only car heat death victim this year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (
), around 38 kids die each year because of being left in a hot vehicle. There’s even a special term for it: Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH).
MORE: South Carolina Starts New Initiative to Decrease Child Hot Car Deaths
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Laws and technology to prevent vehicular heatstroke death

A recently passed $1 trillion infrastructure bill includes a mandate to install reminders in new cars.
These reminders would send out an alert for the driver to check the backseat whenever the engine is shut off.
Of course, this isn’t perfect. More than a quarter of deaths aren’t because a child was left locked in—but because the child crept into an unattended car by themselves.
That’s why Duluth News Tribune is hopeful about a new kind of occupant detection technology.
Since April, Tesla and five automotive suppliers have been approved to begin developing radar-based detection tech.
This tech would be able to check for children or pets that are left in the back seat. If anyone is detected, an alert would be sent to either smartphones or authorities. This is much more efficient and reliable than the current reminder system.

Don’t leave children in a hot car

MORE: Don't Leave These Items in a Hot Car
It’s important to realize that when it’s hot, the temperature inside the car tends to be 40°F hotter than the weather report.
Air conditioning can help, windows can help. But, it’s not enough to make it safe for a kid to be locked in a hot car. It’s too risky!
NHTSA notes that many states have Good Samaritan laws. These will protect you from any legal repercussions. This includes if you need to break a window or two in order to get the child (or pet) out safely.
And of course, keep your car locked at all times. Children can wander into unattended vehicles, which can end in a tragedy.

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