With the 2000 model year, Ford Motor Co. begins equipping Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars sold in the United States and Canada with standard internal trunk releases.
Ford's system uses a cable attached to a T-shaped handle made of a phosphorescent material that glows in the dark for hours after a brief exposure to light.
Ford opted for a handle that is pulled - rather than a mechanism that must be pushed - after ascertaining that young children are more likely to tug on objects.
Ford is one of many automakers developing the safety equipment to prevent accidental child deaths inside vehicle trunks and to aid trapped crime victims.
For example, General Motors offers retrofit kits and is developing an automatic heat- and motion-sensing system that would open a trunk automatically if a person were inside.
DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and Subaru plan trunk releases in 2001 models. Nissan will offer the feature in 2000 models.