GMC's alert will trigger under certain circumstances. Five chimes will sound and a warning will display if the rear doors are opened and closed within 10 minutes of the vehicle starting or if those doors are opened while the vehicle is running. The system does not sense items or people in the rear seat like the front passenger seat would to trigger the airbag. Warnings will be displayed regardless of interior or exterior temperature; while the summer months are the deadliest, leave-behind deaths occasionally occur during cold weather. Drivers should be aware that temperatures in vehicles can quickly rise to dangerous levels, even if the ambient temperature seems cool and comfortable.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of children are intentionally left in cars. A negligent caretaker, whether it be a parent, grandparent, or babysitter, can leave a child behind while they go to work or run an errand, not expecting any problems. Some children unintentionally trap themselves in cars while playing in the cabin or trunk. The Acadia's system is unlikely to prevent these scenarios.
While we believe that GMC should be commended for making an effort to put an end to these tragedies, we're not certain how effective the system might be until driver education improves. It's also possible drivers will come submit to warning fatigue and begin to ignore the messages. That said, if this software-based solution prevents just one death, it was worth the effort.