According to recent statistics, there have been more than 700 children since 1998 that have passed away after being left in hot cars. This year so far, 12 children have died in hot cars. While it is clearly the children who suffer most, parents and guardians of these children are understandably devastated. These horrible accidents can be prevented — and should be.
Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) wants to make sure that these tragedies stop. Ryan introduced a bill into the legislature on June 7. The bill, titled HOT CARS Act of 2017, is co-sponsored by Peter T. King of New York and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
The bill outlines a plan for the requirement of a warning system if children are left in the backseat after a car’s engine has been turned off. The cost of implementing the technology is small, and General Motors already has it in place in many of its models dated 2017 and later.
When Hot Is Too Hot
Many people simply don’t think that a car is any hotter than the air temperature outside. Others believe that they will only be out of the car for “a minute,” and end up taking far longer. According to those who understand heat stroke deaths, here is a timeline for the temperatures of the interior of vehicles.
- 0 minutes: the air inside the car will be the same as the air outside of the car.
- 10 minutes: temperatures inside the car climb to approximately 19 degrees higher than those outside.
- 20 minutes: temperatures are 29 degrees higher inside of the car.
- 30 minutes: temperatures are 34 degrees higher inside of the car.
- 40 minutes: on a 70 degree day, the temperature inside of the car is 111 degrees.
- 60 minutes: on a 90 degree day, the temperature inside of a car that has been closed for an hour is approximately 140 degrees.
It’s already hit 90 degrees this summer in Charlotte, and it’s only going to get warmer. Even adults struggle with facilitating their body temperatures in these conditions:
How Do These Accidents Happen?
Children are not left in hot cars because their parents don’t care. Rather, it is often attributed to forgetfulness or a sense of being on auto-pilot. In many cases, it occurs when a parent who does not normally transport the child on that day or time takes them. The parent is used to their routine and distracted by other thoughts, essentially forgetting that they have their child at all. According to experts, this is a brain science issue and not a neglect issue. Technology, such as that introduced in the bill, may help bridge the gap between routine and necessary behaviors.
If a parent has a child in the backseat, they should put their purse, wallet, work bag and even cell phone in the backseat as well. The parent may remember that they carried their bag or wallet and also be reminded that their child has traveled with them.
If your child has suffered an injury in North Carolina due to someone’s neglect, you may have the legal right to compensation. Call our attorneys today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about what you may be entitled to.