Lawmakers debate bill to prevent hot car deaths; number of children dying reached record in July

Posted at 2:44 AM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 07:37:33-04

A recent study marked July as a record high month for deaths related to hot cars. Florida is one of the leading states for hot-car related deaths which is a growing problem in the U.S.

Lawmakers are debating the Hot Cars Act. The bill would require all manufacturers to include a sensor to alert a driver when there is a baby in the back seat to keep them from forgetting about the child.

Through the end of July, 29 children died after being left in a hot car. That number is four more than last year and the highest number ever recorded through July.

The average high temperature for Florida in July is 95 degrees, making every minute a child is left in the car crucial.

Elonzel Jones, a father of twin girls says he would never leave his kids in the car and questions how any parent can forget.

"It's like 98 degrees outside, that's what it feels like," said Jones. "And it's constantly getting hotter and hotter in the humidity and kids will basically boil inside the car."

The bill had 11 co-sponsors before it was coupled into the Self Drive Act Bill, which is set to be voted on next by the House of Representatives next.

The bill gained support from multiple Florida Congressmen, including District 15 Representative Dennis Ross.

“The Hot Car Act is a common sense bill that will save children’s lives. Whatever the reason may be, ‘hot car’ deaths are completely preventable," Ross said. "As a father who raised children in Florida, which is one of the top three states for child vehicular strokes, this issue hits home. This July marks the deadliest month in nearly a decade for children dying in hot cars in the U.S. A simple reminder to let drivers know a child, an animal or another person is still in the vehicle is an easy first-step solution to preventing these heartbreaking accidents and deaths. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation so we can put an end to this serious, preventable problem.”