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​New Bill Aims to Prevent Car Deaths with Technology

Date: June 3, 2019
Three U.S. senators introduced a bi-partisan bill on May 22 that would leverage new technologies to protect children and other passengers from heat-stroke deaths when left in a vehicle.
“In the past two decades, more than 800 children have died from heat stroke after being left in hot cars,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), who introduced the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in the Rear Seat (HOT CARS) Act of 2019, along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
According to a press release from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the bill will instruct the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to put forward a rule in the next two years requiring “a visual and auditory alert system to remind caregivers to check the rear seat.”
The DOT will support third-party studies investigating technologies aimed to prevent heat-stroke passenger deaths. The act will also order states to educate citizens on the dangers of leaving passengers unattended in their automobiles, using funds from their highway safety programs.
“In only minutes on a hot day, a car can become a death trap for a small child. Dozens of children perish in hot cars every summer – deaths that are completely preventable with a simple sensor,” said Sen. Blumenthal, D-Conn., ranking member of the Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection. “We already have the basic technology to alert drivers when a child has been left in the backseat. Requiring every car to have it installed before it drives off the lot is simple, common sense.”
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