This morning U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-13th OH), Peter King (R-2nd NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-9th IL) introduced the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats Act (HOT CARS Act of 2016). The HOT CARS act requires technology in passenger vehicles to alert the driver when a passenger is left in the back seat.
“This legislation will address the needless deaths of children from heatstroke when unintentionally left in vehicles,” said Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety president Jackie Gillian in a media conference call on the legislation.
This bipartisan initiative would prevent deaths and injuries caused by vehicular heatstroke. It is the first step to prevent this horrible problem. Reminder systems for headlights, doors, keys and seat belts already exist in many cars.
“These unthinkable tragedies can only be prevented with technology,” explained Kids and Cars President and Founder and bill advocate Janette Fennell.
This technology already exists. Rear View Safety recently developed The Brilliant Backseat Reminder System to combat this exact problem. The Brilliant Backseat can be installed in any vehicle and is designed to save lives. A moderate alarm is followed by the cars horn if the system is not turned off. The Brilliant Backseat is equipped with two different alarms to alert you, or those nearby, that you have forgotten someone in the backseat.
If the HOT CARS Act passes through Congress, automakers would have 2 years to install the technology in new passenger vehicles. This 2 year timeline is the same as the recent NHTSA rule requiring backup cameras on all vehicles.
Already this year 29 children have tragically lost their lives to vehicular heatstroke. The average number of U.S. child heatstroke fatalities per year is 37. From 1998-2015 there have been 661 child vehicular heatstroke deaths, 54% of these children were “forgotten” by their caregiver. The temperature inside of a car can reach 125 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows cracked. Children overheat four times faster than adults. A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees. Children have died from vehicular heatstroke in temperatures as low as 54 degrees.
Accidentally leaving children in vehicles can happen to any family. Vehicular heatstroke kills. This is a very serious issue that needs to be quickly and safety addressed.