We see the stories every summer: Dozens of children die from heat stroke every year after being left inside hot cars. GMC has introduced a feature in the 2017 Acadia in an effort to help curb the problem. Simply called Rear Seat Reminder, it alerts the driver if the vehicle suspects someone might have been accidentally left behind.

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.

2017 GMC Acadia driving
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2017 GMC Acadia driving
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2017 GMC Acadia off-road
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2017 GMC Acadia off-road
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2017 GMC Acadia front 3/4 view
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2017 GMC Acadia rear 3/4 view
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2017 GMC Acadia front 3/4 view
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2017 GMC Acadia rear 3/4 view
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2017 GMC Acadia side view
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2017 GMC Acadia side view
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2017 GMC Acadia front view
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2017 GMC Acadia rear view
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2017 GMC Acadia headlight
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2017 GMC Acadia grille
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2017 GMC Acadia taillight
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2017 GMC Acadia badge
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2017 GMC Acadia interior
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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.

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