BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — There’s a new bill working its way through Congress to help prevent children from dying inside hot vehicles in the U.S. If passed, it would require detection technology in every new vehicle.
More than 100 kids have died inside hot cars over the past couple years in the U.S. Two of those happened in Ohio.
Sgt. Ryan Purpura with Ohio State Highway Patrol says you should never leave a child in a hot car, even if you are just running inside for 10 seconds to get something that you left inside the house or a store.
“When it’s 95 degrees out and that vehicle is closed up, it heats up rapidly, very fast. So any person in the vehicle or a pet that doesn’t have air conditioning going is obviously in grave danger,” Purpura said.
And it’s important to always lock your car too, especially when you are at home because, according to KidsandCars.org, 1 in 4 kids dies in hot cars after getting in the vehicle themselves.
“It keeps the little kids out that are maybe playing hide-and-seek and, you know, ‘Oh I think I’ll hide in this car,’ and they end up getting themselves stuck in the vehicle and they can’t find them and it’s hot out and then grave things can happen.”
Amber Rollins, director of KidsandCars.org, is hoping that technology can help reduce the number of deaths.
“We feel very strongly that because education isn’t changing anything, we need technology to prevent children from dying in hot cars,” Rollins said.
Some cars already have this technology installed to sense something in the backseat and notify the driver when they exit the vehicle.
“Basically the way that that works is the technology would detect that there is a child inside that vehicle unattended and would be able to alert the driver and/or bystanders by providing an audio and visual alert inside and outside the vehicle that ‘Hey, somebody is in danger inside here.”
“That type of technology is required by the federal bill that we’re working on called the Hot Cars Act. So that would call on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a safety standard and require that detection technology in every single new vehicle.”
Rollins is hopeful that with this technology, hot cars death will slowly go down in the future.
The good news is that this year, due to the pandemic and people not being out as much, hot car deaths are down significantly compared to previous years.