Safe Kids Worldwide has convened a consortium of pioneers to lead the way in a joint effort to protect children in autonomous vehicles (AVs).
The group of professionals and leading child and transportation safety experts will guide best practices, education, legislation and policies to help keep children under 13 safe in AVs.
“Safe Kids is committed to making sure the safety needs of children are considered as today’s new AV technology is developed,” said Torine Creppy, President of Safe Kids Worldwide. “AVs are currently being piloted on roads in nearly three dozen communities, in 16 states nationwide. By considering the unique needs of children early in the development of AVs, we have an historic opportunity to learn from the past and keep our most vulnerable passengers safe when it comes to this emerging form of transportation.”
Many children were injured or killed in the 1990s when front seat airbags were available to the market at a time when drivers believed it was safe to have their children in the front seat where they could be observed. These airbags proved beneficial for adults but had negative effects for children. Further tragedies were avoided when families and drivers were encouraged to put all children under 13 in a back seat.
The Children in AVs Consortium is an extension of a 2018 Blue Ribbon Panel of top-level safety and transportation experts organized by Safe Kids Worldwide. The 17-member panel released a report in October 2018 outlining a call to action and specific recommendations, including seeking the input of child safety experts throughout the AV development and design phases to ensure the safety needs of children under 13 were addressed.
The consortium will ensure public information and education tools are designed to guide draft legislation, policy, enforcement and best practices for child AV occupants from birth to age 13.
For more information on children in autonomous vehicles and a list of the consortium members, visit SafeKids.org/kids-autonomous-vehicles.