Fall Newsletter announces alliance with Animal Care Organizations & attends Pet Night on Capitol Hill is joining forces with a coalition of animal care organizations in support of the HOT CARS Act of 2017 (see below). This new collaboration will help prevent hot car tragedies involving children, animals, and other vulnerable members of our society.
As part of Pet Night on Capitol Hill, President Janette Fennell and VP Sue Auriemma attended the event along with representatives from the organizations who are a part of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Coalition (PIJAC). U.S House Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Tim Ryan (OH) were also there to highlight their sponsorship of the HOT CARS Act. As original cosponsors, the Congress people underscored that the technology called for in the HOT CARS Act protecting children from being left alone in a hot car can also protect pet!

First Ever Study Released on Nontraffic Injuries and Fatalities in Young Children

A new  Traffic Injury Prevention Journal study, co-authored by entitled,  Unintentional Nontraffic*Injury and Fatal Events: Threats to Children In and Around Motor Vehicles describes the frequency of various nontraffic incidents, injuries, and fatalities to children utilizing our unique surveillance system and database.

This is the very first study of its kind and identifies a diverse set of nontraffic incidents involving U.S. children. Examples of nontraffic events include backovers, children left in hot vehicles, frontovers, children inadvertently knocking vehicles into gear, power window incidents and others.

The study identifies over 11,750 distinct incidents reported in a variety of venues and vehicles affecting 14,568 children ages 14 years and younger, resulting in nearly 3,400 deaths of which 47 percent were male, and with an average age of 42 months taking place between 1990-2014.

*Nontraffic meaning any vehicle-related incident that happens off of public roadways and highways mainly in parking lots or driveways. and the Center for Auto Safety Sue Department of Transportation

The life-saving effects of seat belts is indisputable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes the value of seat belts, stating that 13,941 lives were saved in 2015 by wearing seat belts. 

Although safety belt systems are installed at all designated seating positions in passenger vehicles, systems to remind passengers to buckle their seat belts are limited to the front seats. Seat belt reminder systems should be available for all seating positions to remind the driver and each passenger to buckle their seat belt.

Part of the 2012 transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, (MAP-21), requires automobile manufacturers to install a seat belt reminder system for the front passenger and rear designated seating positions in all passenger vehicles. The seat belt reminder system is intended to increase seat belt usage and thereby improve the crash protection of vehicle occupants who would otherwise have been unbelted, thus saving lives.

The NHTSA was ordered by Congress to issue a standard to require rear seat belt reminders by October 2015. Yet, years after the deadline, they have not done so. Instead of issuing the law, the NHTSA has been sending out posters, PSAs and Tweets in attempt to get people to buckle their seat belts. There is absolutely no excuse for not issuing this life-saving regulation.

Therefore, on October 30, 2017, and ​t​he Center for Auto Safety filed a Petition for Mandamus suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to compel the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to implement a law passed by Congress in 2012 requiring DOT to issue a standard requiring a rear seat safety belt warning system in all vehicles.

The HOT CARS Act of 2017

The HOT CARS Act would require the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a rule requiring vehicles to be equipped with a system to alert the driver if a passenger (child, vulnerable adult, the disabled or animal) remains in the back seat when a car is turned off.

Already this year 43 U.S. children have died in hot cars. Since 1990, over 800 children have died from heatstroke in vehicles. This is unacceptable and 100% preventable. Children will continue to die until we have reminder systems in vehicles to protect them because no one thinks this could happen to them.

Our cars already have dozens of reminder alerts - low fuel, headlights left on, engine issues, doors left ajar, low tire pressure, dead batteries and many more. Why not a simple reminder alert that would make sure no living beings are left alone in a vehicle? The technology exists to prevent hot car deaths and the HOT CARS Act calls for it to be installed in all passenger vehicles.

This bi-partisan effort has already received widespread support from more than 30 of the nation’s leading public health, consumer and safety  organizations as well as 5 leading animal care organizations.

Status Update about the HOT CARS Act:
The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 7, 2017 and passed the full House on September 6, 2017 as a part of the SELF-DRIVE Act of 2017. This is a huge step forward towards eliminating preventable hot car deaths of children, animals and others in our country.

Another version of the HOT CARS Act was introduced in the Senate on July 31, 2017 and passed the Senate Commerce Committee in August as an amendment to the AV START Act.

For more information on the HOT CARS Act click here.
Look Before You Lock cards now available for download in Mandarin Chinese’s ‘Look Before You Lock’ cards are now available in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. The ‘Look Before You Lock’ safety education cards are designed to educate parents at the very beginning of their child’s life about the dangers of children being unknowingly left or getting into vehicles on their own.

Thanks to the generous support of Toyota, has provided over one million ‘Look Before You Lock’ parent education cards to more than 650 hospital birthing centers nationwide. Our goal is to encourage parents to put something back seat and get into the habit of opening the back door and checking the back seat on every single car ride.

We want to extend a special thank you to the nursing staffs at participating hospitals for their tireless commitment to this program to ensure families are safe and informed. And another special thank you to Franco Gamero and our Chinese translators for their commitment to helping us share our safety messages for all.