Hot Car Fatality
Petition to Rob Portman, Sherrod Brown
Support the HOT CARS Act – Require alert systems in cars to prevent hot car deaths
I need your help to pass a bill aimed at saving children’s lives, via the HOT CARS Act. You probably have heard about babies dying inside hot cars every year. I have too. But I used to think this would never happen to somebody I know…until it did…I am part of a close community in Cincinnati experiencing this unimaginable tragedy. A friend of ours realized she had unknowingly left her baby girl, that she so deeply loved, unattended in her car as she went to work. They would do anything to get her back. Their lives and the lives of all these parents who have suffered this heartbreaking tragedy across our nation are forever changed. Even more tragic is the fact that these unthinkable deaths can be prevented through technology and education. You can help me achieve this. I learned through the KidsAndCars.org nonprofit organization: that more than 800 children have died in hot cars since 1990. Sadly, we all think that “this could never happen to me,” until it does. It has happened to doctors, fire fighters, teachers, caregivers, principals, nurses and more. I learned, a child’s body overheats 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s. At 104° F heatstroke starts within a child’s body, at 107°F fatality is imminent. Our car interiors heat up extremely fast. I didn’t know that even if the windows are cracked open, the temperature inside can reach 125° F degrees in mere minutes! Children can heat up and die even when the outside temperature is 50° F. Elderly and pets left in cars are also at risk. Unfortunately, even with education campaigns that have increased awareness and laws for leaving kids unattended in vehicles, the statistics have sadly stayed unchanged with a national average of 37 children dying every year. In the majority of these tragic cases (55%), children are left unknowingly by loving devoted parents or caregivers. Why? Because our brain can fail us. A change in daily routine, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue and or other distractions of the mind are things that all people have experienced which can be key contributing factors (according to KidsAndCars.org). This is supported by Dr. David Diamond, a professor in the Departments of Psychology, Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida and an expert on neuroscience. He has said: “From a brain science perspective, parents can, through no fault of their own, lose awareness of the presence of a child in the car.” "It is important to stress that these parents do not have a reckless disregard for the care of their children. Rather, common factors like a change in routine lack of sleep, or even simple distractions can all have an effect on even the most responsible parents. “The common factor is not just stress, but that the parent is on a drive that typically does not include the child, so the brain goes into autopilot mode that takes the parent from point a to point b, and the day care is not along that route,” said Diamond, who has interviewed parents of children who died of vehicular heatstroke. “The parent is driving, the mind is wandering to plans for the day, and the awareness of the child is lost.” “Parents’ brains can fill in the memory of dropping children off with caregivers and really believe it happened. They talk about their children at work, have pictures of their children on their desks and even tell co-workers that they have to leave early to go to the day care. That is why it is imperative that there be a system to provide an alert to remind parents of the presence of a child in the back seat. This is a modern phenomenon which requires a modern solution." This is why I need your HELP to sign this petition so our Senators will make it a priority to pass the HOT CARS Act that requires vehicles to have a safety alert system to prevent these losses. The proposed legislation would establish a performance standard for a visual and auditory alert system. The U.S. Department of Transportation would then issue a rule requiring new vehicles to be equipped with an alert system to remind drivers to check the rear seat. We already have reminders in our vehicles to prevent us from locking our keys inside our cars or leaving our headlights on and draining the battery; so why not a safety alert for our beloved children? Please sign this petition today.