OMBUDSMAN ALERT has followed the subject of this HOT CAR legislation in articles published in this column on August 9, 2018, July 4, 2019, September 12, 2019 and September 19, 2019 – as part of CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY WEEK.
Since the details of this Act(H.R. 3593) have now  been released as amended, OMBUDSMAN ALERT will now share them with our readers:
Section 1 – Short title:”Hot Cars Act of 2019″(H.R. 3593)
Section 2 – Findings and purpose
(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:
(1) Children and domestic animals left unattended in vehicles, or independently accessing unoccupied vehicles on their own, are a significant public health and safety problem.
(2) In 2018 at least 52 children were killed by hyperthermia as a result of being left unattended in a vehicle or as a result of gaining access independently into an unoccupied vehicle.
(3) Between 1990 and 2018, at least 889 children were similarly killed.
(4) Fourteen percent of parents reported leaving a child 6 or younger in a parked, locked car alone. according to a 2014 Public Opinion strategies survey.
(5)In 2018, at least 57 domestic animals were killed as a result of being left unattended in a vehicle.
(6) Technology currently exists to detect the presence of a child in the rear seat of a vehicle.
(b) Purpose-
The purpose of this Act is to reduce the deaths and injuries that result from occupants being left in unattended vehicles as well as instances in which children independently access an unoccupied vehicle.
(c) Rulemaking-
Not later than 2 years after the enactment of the Hot Cars Act of 2019. the Secretary of Transportation will issue a final rule requiring all new passenger vehicles…to be equipped with a system to detect the presence of an occupant in a rear designated seating position after the vehicle engine or motor is deactivated and engage a warning. In developing the rule required under this subsection, the Secretary shall consider requiring systems that also detect the presence of any occupant unable to independently exit the vehicle as well as to detect the presence of a child who has entered an unoccupied vehicle independently.
(d) Means-
The warning required under (c)-
(1) shall include a distinct auditory and visual alert to notify individuals inside and outside of the vehicle of the presence of an occupant, which shall be combined with an interior haptic warning;and (2) shall be activated when the vehicle motor is deactivated by the operator and the presence of an occupant is detected.
(e) Phase in-
The rule issued pursuant to subsection (c) shall require full compliance with the rule not later than two years after the date on which this final rule is issued.
OMBUDSMAN ALERT considers this ACT as one of the most important ever proposed by our Congress to protect our children riding in our vehicles and will appeal directly to all members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate to pass this Act as soon as possible. OMBUDSMAN ALERT appeals directly to our local Congresswoman, Nita Lowey, to continue her strong leadership in championing this vital issue in the House of Representatives.
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