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Every year, dogs and children suffer and die when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car. Hot vehicles are death traps for occupants: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
In the last year, at least 26 children and 31 dogs have died agonizingly from being left in hot cars. Another 55 animals were rescued just in time—and since these numbers include only those incidents reported in the media, the actual figures are likely higher.
Sadly, since 1990 nearly 1,000 children have died in hot cars. The annual average is 38 deaths per year—or one every nine days. In fact, over the past 30 years, the number of deaths of children in hot cars has trended upwards, despite widespread education programs and public awareness, proving that more action is needed to prevent these tragedies.
The Hot Cars Act of 2021 aims to reduce the number of deaths by requiring automakers to install detection and warning systems in new cars, alerting drivers when an occupant remains in a vehicle after it’s turned off.
Although some automakers have voluntarily agreed to add rear-seat warning systems, we’re urging lawmakers to require them. Laws mandating lifesaving features such as backup cameras, air bags, and safer power window switches have been passed and seem like common sense to us now. This law is no different, and the technology called for in the bill is inexpensive and readily available.
During the 2019–2020 legislative session, the Hot Cars Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2). It failed to pass in the Senate.
On May 12, 2021, the Hot Cars Act of 2021, H.R. 3164, was introduced by Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
With your help, we can get this legislation passed!
Please send a polite e-mail to your senator or representative urging him or her to support the Hot Cars Act.
You’re welcome to use our template letter, but putting your subject line and message into your own words will help draw attention to your e-mail.