Product Redesign & Engineering
We know we aren’t going to be reengineering children any time soon. And, why would we? Children are perfect just the way they are. Kids and Car Safety (KACS) fights every day to ensure that vehicles are designed in a way that keeps children safe because ALL children deserve to be protected. While education is critical for preventing vehicle tragedies, real change comes when design and technological advances can eliminate the risk.
Vehicles and children are safer today due to our passionate pursuit of protecting children in and around vehicles. Below are a few examples of Kids and Car Safety’s successes in making vehicles safer for children and everyone.
PLEASE NOTE: These safety changes affect ALL vehicles sold or leased in the United States regardless of where they are made.
- As of May 2018, all new vehicles are required to have a rearview camera as standard equipment. The number of reported backover incidents are beginning to decrease as more vehicles are purchased with rearview cameras.
- Safer “scoop to roll up” power window switches have now been installed in all vehicles since October 2010. The dangerous rocker and toggle power window switches are no longer allowed. The number of power window strangulations and injuries have gone down drastically since the installation of these new safer window switches.
- Internal trunk release mechanisms are now required in all vehicles beginning with model year 2002 and newer. There has not been one fatality in the trunk of a vehicle that contains a glow-in-the-dark release mechanism. ZERO!
- All vehicles with automatic transmissions are required as of 2010 to be equipped with a system that requires the brake pedal to be depressed before the car can be shifted out of park (brake-to-shift interlock). There has been a significant decrease in the number of children injured or killed from inadvertently setting vehicles into motion.
- A provision in the 2021 bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) mandates action by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) aimed at preventing hot car tragedies. Soon all new vehicles will come with technology to help prevent hot car deaths as standard equipment. KACS is now working to ensure that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will issue the final rule due by November 2023 on time without delay and that the final rule will require occupant detection, a feature necessary to address the issue in a comprehensive manner.
- A provision was passed in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with a mandate for action by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to require a safety standard so that all vehicles will have an automatic shut off if inadvertently left running. This is a risk that is drastically increased in vehicles with keyless ignitions and can cause carbon monoxide to leak into a home killing silently.
- Seat belt reminder systems will soon be required in all seating positions so that all passengers are buckled every time on every ride. Regulatory date TBD after 8 years of delay.
Current product redesign efforts include;
Currently, there is a blindzone in front of all vehicles where the driver cannot see a small child or pet. Frontovers happen when a parked car begins to pull forward slowly and runs over someone. Frontovers are responsible for approximately 366 deaths and 15,000 injuries per year. Backup cameras are now required in vehicles for rear blindzones but there is no technology required to prevent frontovers. Bills have been introduced in 2023 to prevent front blindzones. Front sensors and automatic braking technology can be added to vehicles to detect the presence of someone in front of a vehicle. KACS is working with Congress and other safety agencies to raise awareness and work towards eliminating these predictable and preventable tragedies.
Passengers drowning in submerged vehicles
Every year countless people die because they cannot escape from a vehicle that has become submerged in water. KACS is working to help address this issue through educational awareness and promoting the use of emergency safety tools that can aid in the escape from a submerged vehicle. KACS is also looking into technological solutions that could allow victims to escape and survive being trapped inside a sinking vehicle.
As we move towards the use of autonomous vehicles, KACS will be at the forefront and instrumental in helping account for the unique safety needs of children. There will be distinct considerations that must be taken into account to help ensure the safety of our children as these new vehicles populate our roadways.