Thirty-one children have died around the country so far this year as a result of being left alone in hot cars. Senator Richard Blumenthal is endorsing a bill aimed at preventing these deaths. He said Monday the proposed law will require all auto manufacturers to include technology that alerts drivers to check the rear seat for passengers when a vehicle is turned off.
Known as the Children Alone in Rear Seats Act (HOT CARS Act), the law is meant to lower the number of child deaths as a result of being left in a hot vehicle.
In a news briefing held at Chevrolet of Milford, Blumenthal urged Congress to pass the bill.
“It should be standard equipment, and it should be required,” said Blumenthal. “Just as we do airbags and seatbelts, this kind of alert and in fact detection system should be standard equipment.”
On the Chevrolet media website, the company provides a video showing consumers how the technology works in their vehicles.
However, the alert cannot be added to an older vehicle, which means the feature is only available in cars made in 2017 and beyond.
Blumenthal says that there are third party tools parents can buy to simulate the same alert, but he also encourages those without newer vehicles to use strategies to remind themselves to “look before they lock.” Those strategies include putting purses or pocketbooks in the backseat, or placing a child’s toy in the passenger seat to remind parents to check the rear seat.
James Fleming is the president of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association. He said Monday his organization is in full support of the law.
“It ought to be in all cars because all cars can make these children very vulnerable,” said Fleming. “So we as an association endorse this, we will talk to our lobbyists down in Washington D.C as well, the National Automobile Dealers Association, and I’m sure that the manufacturers will get onboard this bill. It’s a great idea and it’s going to save lives.”
Blumenthal said he’s confident the legislation can pass both the House and Senate.