‘HOT CARS Act’ Gets Boost of Support From PETA

Lifesaving Legislation Would Help Prevent ‘Spots and Tots’ From Dying in Parked Cars

For Immediate Release:
June 25, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382


Today, PETA sent a letter renewing its support of the efforts of child-safety nonprofit group KidsAndCars.org to ensure passage of the HOT CARS Act of 2019, which would require automakers to install technology in vehicles to detect the presence of a child or an animal and alert drivers when someone is in the backseat.

PETA notes that the bill is critically needed, as just a moment of forgetfulness or distraction—running into a friend, taking a phone call, or otherwise being unexpectedly delayed—can quickly turn fatal for vulnerable children and animals. More than 50 children and at least 33 dogs lost their lives in hot cars last year, and this year, at least five children and four dogs have already died that way even though summer has only just begun.

“As COVID-19 extends shopping wait times and there’s almost no ‘quick trip to the store,’ PETA worries that this summer may be the deadliest ever for children and dogs left in parked cars,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “This lifesaving legislation has the potential to prevent countless heartbreaking tragedies and is needed now more than ever.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to KidsAndCars.org founder and President Janette E. Fennell follows.

June 25, 2020

Janette E. Fennell

Founder and President


Dear Ms. Fennell,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide to renew our support for the HOT CARS Act of 2019, which will help prevent heatstroke deaths in children and animals. Even a “quick errand” can end in tragedy, as kids and dogs can bake to death inside a parked car within just minutes. We believe this lifesaving legislation would go a long way toward stopping drivers from making fatal mistakes by ensuring that they are alerted when someone is in the backseat.

Every year, dogs and children suffer and die when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car while they run an errand. Parked cars are deathtraps: On a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 99 degrees in 20 minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in just 10 minutes. Heatstroke, damage to organs (including the brain), and death can occur within minutes for children and animals, so it’s crucial to ensure that they’re never left in parked cars—even for “just a minute.”

We hope the warnings will prevent fatal tragedies by notifying motorists that someone is in the backseat and also serve as a reminder that animals and children should never knowingly be left in a car. We appreciate all that you do to keep cars safe for humans and other animals.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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