Safety Technology

Mazda (finally) all-in on rear seat reminder technology

Mazda is going all-in on keeping kids safe in the car.

Photo by Getty Images

Some automakers are already installing rear seat reminder technology across their lineup. Mazda is taking longer, but is committing to having the alerts installed in every U.S.-sold vehicle by 2025, if not sooner.

Their commitment comes as part of a larger consensus, announced in early September, among automakers that are part of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, which account for nearly 100 percent of the U.S. light-duty vehicle sales.

"Children die each year from heatstroke suffered when left unattended in the back seat of passenger vehicles," said John Bozzella, President and CEO of Global Automakers. "As most of these deaths are caused by children being unintentionally left in vehicles, our members are taking action to help prevent these tragic losses by adding rear-seat reminder systems to prompt parents and caregivers to check the back seat before exiting their car."

According to the Auto Alliance, the agreement between stakeholders will expedite the inclusion of the technology, which could have taken four to eight years to finalize had they relied on the government rule-making process.

"Sadly, each year, we see children die from heatstroke suffered when left unattended in the back seat of passenger vehicles – most of these deaths are caused by children being unintentionally left in the vehicles," saidJeff Guyton, President, Mazda. "The commitment by Mazda and the entire automotive industry to install rear seat reminder safety systems underscores how such innovations will help parents and caretakers keep their children safe."

Currently, Mazda sells the Mazda3, Mazda6, CX-3, CX-5, CX-9, and MX-5 Miata in North America. A CX-30 crossover will be arriving on U.S. shores in 2020.

A new technology developed by General Motors may change the trailering experience as we know it, making it safer for everyone involved.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

For some folks, towing a trailer is second nature. It's like riding a bicycle or going for a swim. But for a vast majority of others, towing can be intimidating, scary and even downright dangerous. No matter what category you fall into, truck makers have been working feverishly to come up with new and exciting technologies to make towing easier and safer for you.

One of the biggest challenges of towing, at least at speed, is the abrupt need to come to a stop. Whether it be someone pull out in front of you or the traffic light turned red sooner than you'd expect. Towing down a grade in high winds can create even more issues.

eBoost braking assist trailer This diagram shows the impact of the new eBoost technology.Photo courtesy of General Motors

To help with towing and stopping, electronic trailer brake controllers are common on rigs that tow. They help control the trailer by apply the brakes in the trailer. Setting up a trailer brake control is often described as an art, not a science.

That's where new General Motors tech comes in. Using their electronic brake system from their heavy-duty pickup, the company has fitted it to a trailer for the purpose of improving braking. Their goal was to equip a trailer with the company's eBoost braking system and see how well they could stop with it.

Their goal was to take a 2020 Silverado HD without a trailer and see how far it took to stop. Then they attached a trailer with 9,000 pounds and set a target of stopping in the same distance. They were within three feet.

That means in a full-on, emergency stop scenario a truck towing a 9,000-pound trailer can stop as short as a truck without a trailer. Not to overwhelm you with hyperbole, but that is a game changer.

Why? There's no complicated setup of the trailer brake controller. The equipment already exists, and GM managed to do it with around $1,000 worth of hardware that's already available. It would require a trailer manufacturer to integrate it with their trailers, but the safety benefits are huge.

Unlike some aftermarket anti-lock braking systems, primarily from Bosch, this system communicates with the truck, and can even use electronic stability control to reduce trailer sway.

It's a prototype at this point. GM is hoping to find a trailer maker to help develop the technology. The marketing department is still figuring out all of the details, but in addition to offering it on a brand-new trailer, it might even be possible for certain dealerships or installers to add it to existing trailers after the fact.

While there is a truck war going on with how can tow and haul the most, the efforts that GM is making right now for improving towing safety, such as their invisible trailering system and this prototype trailer brake system, makes the roads safer for everyone – even if they don't drive a GM.

Volvo is giving away $1 million in new cars if someone scores a safety during Super Bowl LIV.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation

Whether you're rooting for the Chiefs or 49ers, you'll probably want to root for one of them to score a safety during Super Bowl LIV on February 2, 2020. During what the Swedish automaker is calling "Volvo Safety Sunday", if one team scores a safety during the game, random contest entrants will become winners.

According to Volvo, "A safety is a relatively rare and unpredictable scoring play in football that occurs when an offensive team is tackled, loses or fumbles the ball, or commits a penalty in their own end zone. The result of the play is two points to the defensive team, who receives possession of the ball via a free kick."

The campaign celebrate more than one million lives saved by Volvo safety innovations. The automaker has a number of safety innovations under their belt:

  • 1972: First rearward-facing child safety seat concept
  • 1991: Side-Impact Protection System (SIPS)
  • 1998: Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS)
  • 1998: Inflatable Curtain airbags
  • 2002: Roll-Over Protection System (ROPS)
  • 2003: Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
  • 2008: City Safety collision sensing system
  • 2010: Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake
  • 2013: Cyclist Detection
  • 2014: Run-off Road Protection
  • 2016: Connected Safety (Slippery Road Alert, Hazard Light Alert)
  • 2019: E.V.A (Equal Vehicles for All) Initiative and data sharing

To get entered to win, visit VolvoSafetySunday.com and design your own Volvo car. Submit a unique configuration code as an entry between January 20, 2020 and just before kickoff on February 2, 2020 to be registered.

Entrants can choose one of any 2020 Volvo models currently available in the U.S., in any trim and color.

Full rules, terms and conditions can be found at volvosafetysunday.com. a pledge to give away $1 million in cars if a safety occurs during football's biggest night on February 2, 2020.