Italy Aims to Stop Hot Car Deaths of Infants by Requiring Rear Seat Reminder
By law, parents with young children must fit the alert system to their car regardless of how old the vehicle is.
Due to the recent rise in deaths of children and infants left behind in sweltering hot cars, Italian lawmakers have taken drastic measures by requiring those with children younger than four years told to retrofit their vehicles with safety devices that notify drivers if a child is left behind in the backseat.
The law reportedly became effective this past Thursday after Italy’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport proposed the mandate back in 2018. Now, car owners will have to fit their vehicles with devices that sound an alarm when a child is left behind in the vehicle. This means that drivers will have to purchase their own devices and install them by law.
Failure to adhere to the new requirement could result in a fine between the equivalent of $97 and $368 as well as a deduction of points from licenses. Multiple offenses can result in a suspension of at least 15 days.
According to CNN, retailers in Italy sell aftermarket devices both in stores and online that either alert parents with an alarm ora smartphone notification that they left their child in one of the rear seats.
Parents who already bought and installed the devices will be eligible for reimbursement from the government as long as a proof of purchase or a receipt is submitted with the proper documentation.
Although awareness and occurrence of hot car deaths are seemingly on the rise here in the United States, the issue is clearly not unique to our turf. To try and help solve the issue, some automakers have opted to make rear seat reminders and alerts standard safety equipment. Back in September, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers shared its plans to mandate the standard equipping of rear-seat alerts in new cars and trucks by 2025. The U.S. House of Representatives is also collaborating with the Highways and Transit subcommittees in considering the Hot Cars Act of 2019, HR3593.
On average, around 38 children die annually in the United States from being stuck in a hot vehicle with 59 dying this past year alone.