Group pushes to implement technology to prevent hot car deaths

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Even as the sun set along the Little Arkansas River, the heat has already proven deadly this summer nationwide.

According to KidsAndCars.org, ten kids have been killed in hot cars in just the last twenty days.

“The numbers continue to rise,” said Amber Rollins, with the organization. “Legislators need to be aware of this issue and how serious it is and they want to hear from their constituents.”

The organization created a bill called the Hot Cars Act of 2019. The bill would require all cars to install a special sensor that would sound an alarm or contact authorities if a child was detected in the back of a car when it was turned off.

The company has been working to convince lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass, but so far no luck. It also sent a letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, asking the company to install similar technology that was promised back in 2001.

Three years ago, GM did create a reminder display that would light up if a back seat car had recently been opened but it has no alarm. Automakers have said the sensors in question wouldn’t be reliable but Rollins disagrees.

“The auto industry believes education and awareness are the answer,” she said. “And we have been educating and raising awareness for twenty years.”

The group counted 35 incidents where children had died after being left in hot cars so far in 2019. That includes one child who died in Lawrence last week, and a 3-month-old who died in Butler County last June.

Last year was the worst for hot car deaths in U.S. history when 53 deaths were reported.

Automakers like Kia and Hyundai do have sensor systems in place.

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