Hot Cars Kill: PETA Urges Warning Messages in Map Apps

Google, Apple, and Waze Could Help Remind Drivers That Children and Dogs Can Die of Heatstroke Within Minutes

For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2017

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

San Jose, Calif.

This year alone, at least 27 dogs and 19 children have died after being left inside sweltering vehicles—and it’s only July. That’s why PETA wrote to Google and Apple this week to urge the tech giants to update their map apps so that each navigation program concludes its instructions with a voice command and a pop-up notification reminding drivers never to leave children or animals in cars. PETA is also asking Waze to add dogs to its child reminder, which currently warns drivers not to forget their children in cars.

In its letters to the companies, PETA notes that on a relatively mild 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to up to 120 degrees in just minutes and that on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can climb to as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. When children are left in a hot vehicle, their body temperature can increase three to five times faster than an adult’s, and because dogs can cool themselves only by sweating through their paw pads and panting, they can suffer from heatstroke in just minutes.

“A parked car can be a death trap for children and dogs who can’t escape as temperatures soar and their bodies shut down,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is urging Apple, Google, and Waze to help prevent 2017 from becoming a record year for horrific deaths by heatstroke.”

Car companies have already joined the effort: Tesla introduced a “Cabin Overheat Protection” feature, and General Motors developed a “Rear Seat Reminder.” PETA is also calling on Costco, Kroger, Lowe’s, Publix, Target, and other top retail and grocery chains to join the Whole Foods and Walmart stores that have added warning signs to their parking lots and store windows.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—urges those who see a child or a dog in a parked car to take down the vehicle’s color, model, make, and license plate number. If the car is in a store’s parking lot, they should quickly have the owner paged over the store’s intercom. Otherwise, they should call local humane authorities or police. They shouldn’t leave until the individual is safely out of the car and should consider doing whatever it takes to get the child or animal to safety.

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