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Lawmakers work to prevent more child hot car deaths

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 10:03 PM EDT
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published May 12, 2021 at 7:43 AM CDT - Updated May 12 at 8:24 AM on www.waff.com)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Great Health Divide) - On Wednesday, lawmakers will announce the reintroduction of the Hot Cars Act.

According to Kids and Car Safety, this is a bill requiring new vehicles to have technology that can detect the presence of a child inside a car when the engine is off.

Leaders with Kidsandcars.org report at least 28 children die each year in a hot car, and it’s something these leaders said can be prevented with the right technology. Last month the Federal Communications Commission granted several waiver requests from automakers and equipment manufacturers to supply “in-cabin radars. Radar-based technology can detect the presence of a child in a car as subtle as a baby breathing in some cases. Leaders also reported this measure would issue an alert for not only children unknowingly left in cars on their own but also for children getting into cars by themselves unbeknownst to parents.

Sue Auriemma with Kidsandcars.org said hot car deaths are preventable with this technology and it is needed especially now as the weather starts to warm up.

“The truth is it doesn’t discriminate. The failure of the brain’s memory system and under stress and fatigue can happen to anyone. We want every family to have this. It’s available, it’s affordable,” Auriemma said.

She also elaborated that her goal is to have this technology or similar technology in every car.

“What the FCC did was granted a waiver to use wavelengths that are normally not a standard operating procedure,” Auriemma said. “It just gives the radar technology a little bit more power so they can sense a child in the car and even all the way back in the wheel well of a car and all the way back to the third row so this means this technology can be effective at detecting a child in a car.”

Lawmakers will reintroduce the bill at 10 a.m. on May 12.

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