Statement from Victims’ Families Read by Senator Blumenthal During July 10th, 2019 Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee During Consideration of the HOT CARS Act of 2019
Since 1990, more than 900 children have needlessly died in hot cars, including 19 children so far this year. To forget is a human condition, yet technological solutions are available to remedy the problem. Vehicle technology already reminds us if we have left a car door open, a trunk unlatched, headlights left on, among other safety concerns. A number of innovative auto industry suppliers across the country have developed systems to effectively detect and provide a warning when a child is left behind in a car. It is essential that the U.S. Department of Transportation immediately initiates and completes a rulemaking process to issue a standard with minimum performance requirements and ensure that all new cars are equipped with lifesaving technologies that identify and alert the presence of a child. A system that discerns when a child is left alone in a vehicle will also address the problem of young children who climb into unoccupied vehicles. This tragic situation is far too common and represents nearly 30 percent of the fatal victims who die in hot cars. Just last week this tragedy happened to a young child in Denton, Texas. We appreciate the concern and compassion of the Members of this Committee who support legislation mandating DOT action. For years now, we have been sharing with you and your staffs our deeply personal and exceedingly painful stories. Lifesaving technology to prevent child deaths is available, affordable and advancing. We need a comprehensive solution that does not fall short of adequately addressing the problem. While legislation will not bring back our children, we urge you to act on this deadly but solvable problem.