After more than 1,000 deaths and 15 years of advocating for a federal safety standard to protect children and prevent hot car deaths, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) with a mandate for action by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) aimed at preventing hot car tragedies. The bill now awaits the signature of President Biden.
Kids and Car Safety applauds Congress for enacting a provision aimed at addressing this deadly but preventable problem and urges DOT to guarantee optimal protection for all children. Technology costing less than $20 is currently available that provides comprehensive and compelling solutions to end these senseless tragedies utilizing occupant detection and alert technologies.
“It is now up to Secretary Buttigieg, a new father of baby twins, to issue a standard that will solve the problem once and for all by requiring the best available technology to detect the presence of a child and alert drivers,” states Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Car Safety. “Anything short of mandating the use of optimal and inexpensive occupant detection and alert technology would be a travesty and needlessly jeopardizes the lives of millions of children. Without detection and alert systems, children will continue to die in hot cars,” she continued.
Amber Rollins, director, Kids and Car Safety went on to say, “It is not enough to remind drivers with a rudimentary and easy to ignore dashboard message that they opened the rear door before starting their journey and to check the back seat. Instead, there is available and affordable technology to detect that a vulnerable child or animal was left behind or entered a vehicle on their own and then sound an alarm calling for help. It is crucial for the DOT to ensure the final rule requires the most advanced technology to prevent all types of hot car deaths.”
Losing a loved one due to loss of awareness for just one moment is a life-altering tragedy that no family should have to endure. Unfortunately, it continues to occur week after week in communities across the country. The brave parents working with Kids and Car Safety have turned their tragedies into tireless advocacy for impactful vehicle safety solutions. They call on the DOT to take swift action to establish effective performance requirements that will result in the use of technologies to both detect and alert if a child is alone in a vehicle. With state-of-the-art detect and alert technology already available in some vehicles, DOT needs to ensure it is available in every new vehicle. Each passing day of inaction leaves children, animals, and other vulnerable persons in harm’s way.
“The death of my daughter, Charly, changed our lives forever. Knowing that her life could have been saved by technology that costs so little is extremely painful for our family. In honor of Charly and the other children who have endured a hot car tragedy, we will continue to advocate for effective occupant detection systems that are readily available today and cost-efficient,” said Angela Jones, Kids and Car Safety, Arizona advocate and mother of Charly Jones, 3, who died in a hot car.
Kids and Car Safety and their network of grieving families appreciate the tireless work of bipartisan Members of Congress who have effectively advocated for the adoption of this significant safety improvements in the infrastructure bill.
Kids and Car Safety will continue to press Congress and the Biden Administration to end child hot car deaths with proven solutions.