In response to the rapid transformational changes occurring within the automotive industry, non-profit organization Safe Kids Worldwide has convened a consortium of pioneers to lead the way in protecting children in autonomous vehicles (AVs).
The new group, the Children in AVs Consortium, 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 US 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.”
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 AV development and design phases, to ensure the safety needs of children under 13 were addressed.
The consortium will consist of two working groups (Policy, Legislation and Enforcement; and Public Information and Education) that will begin the process of implementing the Blue Ribbon Panel’s recommendations. Over the course of an 18-month effort, the Consortium’s network of specialists 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.
The consortium is composed of top-level researchers, vehicle and child-restraint manufacturers, law enforcement officers, consumer advocacy groups, communications experts, EMS and fire safety professionals, an attorney and public health organizations representing 17 US states and three additional countries.