Support for Federal Bill Protecting Animals and Children From Being Left to Die in Hot Cars Is Vital, Says Group
For Immediate Release:
August 29, 2018
Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382
Washington – Today, PETA sent a letter endorsing the HOT CARS Act, a potentially lifesaving piece of legislation introduced by the national child-safety nonprofit KidsAndCars.org and other safety organizations. The federal bill would require automakers to install warning systems in new cars alerting drivers when someone is in the back seat.
“This summer alone, at least 37 children and 39 dogs have died in auto infernos, and this deadly trend shows no signs of abating,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is helping KidsAndCars.org champion this important bill in the hope that it will help avert such tragic, painful, and preventable deaths.”
PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way.” For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to KidsandCars.org founder and President Janette E. Fennell follows.
August 29, 2018
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 join your efforts to prevent hot car tragedies involving children and animals and to announce our support for the HOT CARS Act of 2017. We hope the passage of this lifesaving legislation will prevent motorists from making a heartbreaking fatal mistake by alerting them when someone is in the backseat.
Every year, many children and dogs die when their guardians forget that they’re in the car or leave them locked inside a vehicle while they “run inside for just a minute.” As you know, since 1990, there have been more than 870 documented cases in which children died in hot cars, and 37 have died in hot cars this year alone. Already this year, at least 39 dogs have endured an agonizing death in hot cars and at least 70 others were rescued just in time. These numbers include only those incidents reported in the media—so the actual figures are likely higher. It doesn’t take long for parked vehicles to turn into deadly ovens: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside them can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Leaving the windows partially open and parking in the shade won’t keep vehicles cool enough to be safe.
Infants and children are especially vulnerable to hyperthermia, because their body temperatures rise three to five times faster than adults’ do and because they’re less able to lower their body temperatures through sweating. Dogs, too, are much more susceptible to heatstroke, because they can’t sweat at all and can cool themselves only through panting. They can sustain damage or die painfully from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Heatstroke, damage to organs (including the brain), and death can occur within minutes in both children and animals, so it’s crucial to ensure that they’re never left in parked cars—even for “just a minute.”
We hope these alerts will not only remind drivers that someone is in the backseat but also serve as a warning that they should never knowingly leave animals or children in the car. Thank you for all that you do to keep cars safe for humans and animals alike. I look forward to hearing from you.Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk