New technology to prevent hot car deaths - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New technology to prevent hot car deaths

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - GMC is rolling out a new feature in their vehicles that could help save lives. 

The auto-maker is adding a rear seat reminder function to one of its SUV models.

Every year, dozens of children die of heatstroke from being left in hot cars, often on accident. GMC's new device will come standard in the 2017 Acadia models. The rear seat designer is designed to let drivers know if they've left something or someone in the back seat. 

"It’s a very simple feature that, you don't have to do anything special to activate. It does it all on its own by monitoring the rear doors," said GMC spokesperson Shad Balch. 

Balch says that as soon as any other back doors is opened and closed, the car assumes you have placed something in the back seat. 

"You start it up and when you go to shut it down, you'll get a reminder, an audible sound and also a display on the center stack here," said Balch. 

The display features a reminder, telling the driver to turn around and check the back seats of the vehicle. Balch says the new feature is a first of its kind piece of technology.

"More than half of all deaths by 14 year olds and younger from heat exhaustion happen because parents forgot the kids in the car," said Balch. 

Every year, an average of 37 children die in the back seats of hot cars. In July of 2013, a 4-month-old boy died in El Cajon after being left in a car overnight. Earlier this month in Texas, a 7-month-old boy died after he was left in a Walmart parking lot. 

“It’s important that this last reminder is there to help to avoid those unfortunate circumstances," said Balch. 

While the focus is keeping your children and pets safe, it can also act an added level of security.

"So it’s not just for kids and pets, but also a reminder to remove valuables from the car, which will prevent theft," said Balch. 

GMC officials say the new Acadia's are already in stock at most dealerships. In the future, GMC will make this technology available in more of their other products.

GoPro was used to shoot some of the footage in this video. 

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