Hyundai has made its Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) technology available in 13 vehicles, including cars and SUVs built in Alabama.
The automaker is helping address the issue of pediatric heatstroke injury and death that can result when children are left unattended in cars in high temperatures for extended periods.
The following 13 models now have ROA systems as standard or optional: Palisade, Santa Fe, Santa Fe HEV, Sonata, Sonata HEV, Elantra, Elantra HEV, Tucson, Tucson HEV, Tucson PHEV, Tucson N-Line, and the Genesis GV80 and G80. The Palisade, Santa Fe, Santa Fe HEV, Sonata, Sonata HEV, Elantra, Elantra HEV and the new 2022 Tucson variants include ROA systems as standard.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama produces the Sonata, Santa Fe, Elantra and Tucson. The plant will add production of the new Santa Cruz pickup sport adventure vehicle this summer. The company has yet to reveal the features on the Santa Cruz.
Hyundai has also made its optional Ultrasonic ROA, or a similar sensor-based system, available on more of its models including the Palisade, Santa Fe and all-new 2022 Tucson variants. Those are SUVs often driven by families with young children. The Genesis GV80 and G80 vehicles also have the Ultrasonic ROA as optional.
The ROA door-logic system detects if a rear door was opened or closed when the car was started, then reminds the driver to check the rear seat with a message on the center cluster when exiting the vehicle. The Ultrasonic ROA has the door-logic technology and an ultrasonic sensor to detect the movements of children and pets in the second-row seats. If the system detects movement in the second-row seats after the driver leaves the vehicle and locks the doors, it will honk the horn and send an alert to the driver’s smartphone via Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car system.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently launched an annual pediatric heatstroke prevention and public awareness program. The “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” campaign notes that:
- In 10 minutes, a car’s interior temperature can rise about 20 degrees.
- Even at an outside temperature of 70 degrees, the temperature inside your car can reach over 115 degrees.
- A child can die when his or her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
- A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a child is left in a hot vehicle, that child’s temperature can rise quickly – and they could die within minutes.
- Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees.
- In 2020, 24 children died of vehicular heatstroke.
- In 2018 and 2019, 53 children died each year, the most in at least 20 years, according to NoHeatstroke.org.
According to NoHeatstroke.org, since 1998 nearly 900 children have died from being left in hot cars nationwide. Since 1998, 28 children have died in hot cars in Alabama.
“No child should die because they were trapped in a hot car,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA acting administrator. “Every child lost leaves a hole in their families that can never be filled, and we grieve with them. Parents and caregivers should make a plan to prevent heatstroke by always checking the back seat, locking their car at home, and never leaving a child in a car for any reason.”
Cliff said a troubling trend in 2020 was an increase in children getting into parked cars and becoming trapped. This was possibly due to more cars parked at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s why it’s so important to always lock your car doors and teach children that vehicles are never places to play,” Cliff said. “Even if you don’t have kids, lock your own car door so a neighbor’s child can’t climb in.”
If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely to their destination. Tips on NHTSA’s Child Heatstroke prevention program can be found here.
“As we continue to develop safety systems that help protect our customers and make our roads safer, we have turned our attention to the upcoming summer months and the prevention of pediatric heat stroke,” said Brian Latouf, chief safety officer, Hyundai Motor North America. “The creative ROA technologies found in Hyundai products, have the ability to alert and save precious lives during a momentary lapse in judgment and/or unawareness on how quickly a vehicles’ interior can heat up in summer temperatures. Anyone who sees an unattended child in a parked car is urged to call emergency services and stay with the car until help arrives. All drivers should always lock their cars when not in use and keep keys away from children.”