New bill aims to prevent kids' deaths in hot cars - FOX Carolina 21

New bill aims to prevent kids' deaths in hot cars

Posted: Updated:
FOX Carolina/May 23, 2017 FOX Carolina/May 23, 2017

A new bill aims to lower the number of kids' deaths in hot cars.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the Hot Cars Act of 2017 on Monday.

If passed, the bill would require all new cars come equipped with an alert system to remind drivers to check their backseat.

The U.S. Department of Transportation would have two years to put a plan into place.

According to advocacy group, Kids and Cars, 30 children have died inside hot cars this year.

"A simple sensor could save the lives of dozens of children killed tragically in overheated cars each year, and my bill would ensure such technology is available in every car sold in the United States. It can take mere minutes on a hot day for a car to turn into a deathtrap for a small child. This basic technology, combined with public awareness and vigilance, can help prevent these catastrophes and safe lives,” Blumenthal said.

“Each summer, we hear heart-wrenching stories about children whose lives end far too early because they were accidentally trapped in the back seat of a hot car. We can do something to prevent these terrible tragedies, and that’s why I’ve helped introduce commonsense legislation that would make sure there are measures in place to alert you if your child is left in the back seat. I want to see this life-saving technology become the standard in our cars,” Franken said.

In a press release Monday, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety President, Jackie Gillan said, "These deaths are agonizing, they are completely avoidable and there is technology that should be in every car to save lives."

Local agency, Safe Kids Upstate is also on board with the new legislation.

"We really need some enforcement behind this," said Lee Penny, manager of Safe Kids Upstate. "This is a big concern in our community."

While waiting to find out if this legislation will pass, parents can start a safety routine now.

"Parents can download apps like Waze for their smart phones," said Penny. "They can also set alarms to remind them to check their backseats."

Safe Kids Upstate says a few simple tips can help save a child's life. 

"Quite often, moms say to us that they could never imagine leaving their child in the car, but every family that's been affected by this tragedy has often said the same thing," said Penny.

Beth Brown was one of those moms. 

"On June 28, 2007, my daughter, Amberlee was forgotten in the car by her father," said Brown. "He just ran a quick errand from our house and he forgot that she was with him."

Brown now advocates for kids' safety and serves as the vice president of Kids and Cars.

"I'm passionate about it because I am that parent that lost a child who thought it would never happen to me," said Brown.

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