The Leith Cars group wants to pause for a moment and shift gears to a serious issue that rises every year at this time in the summer. On average, 38 children are killed in the United States after being forgotten in a hot car. More than 670 have perished due to vehicular heatstroke in the last 20 years.
We were inspired to address this topic after seeing this video, posted last month by Greensboro resident Terry Williams:
When he heard about a recent incident of a two-year-old succumbing to vehicular heatstroke in Georgia, Williams was compelled to do something. He made this video while in Raleigh on a day when the temperature was registering in the mid-80s. After only ten minutes sitting in his car with the windows up, he was drenched in sweat and short of breath. That’s when he recorded the above video, which has now been viewed by more than 1.5 million people.
The numbers are heartbreaking by themselves, but the heartbreak is compounded by the cause, which is usually negligence or forgetfulness. A study by the non-profit organization Kids and Cars found that most of the parents of the victims were kind and loving, but that a tragic mistake was all it took for them to lose their children.
Kids and Cars has filed a petition on the White House website calling for the Obama administration to pursue the research and development of technology that will alert drivers to unattended infants in the back seat of their car. The basic thinking is that our cars currently come equipped with alerts to tell us when we have left our lights on or when we haven’t buckled our seatbelts, so a backseat sensor should be feasible. Independent attempts to develop such a system have been unsuccessful so far, which is why Kids and Cars is turning to the White House and the Department of Transportation.
In order to go into effect, the petition must accumulate 100,000 signatures by August 13. Currently, it has just over 2700. If you want to add your name, visit the following link:
Remember that Mr. Williams recorded his plea in June and North Carolina summers only get hotter from there. This week, the heat index has already crested 100 degrees. Please, be mindful of your precious cargo so we can prevent more tragedies.
For more information on vehicular heatstroke, visit the information page on the Kids and Cars website.