In recent years, it seems like it is impossible to go more than a few days in the summertime without hearing about another tragic loss of life caused by hot cars. Children and pets are particularly vulnerable to this kind of harm, as they generally aren’t capable of escaping a vehicle that is overheating. However, individuals with disabilities, the elderly, those who are weakened due to illness and the unhoused are also frequently harmed due to hot vehicle conditions as well.
One factor that contributes to the prevalence of hot car harm is that most motorists are unaware of the fact that the interior of passenger vehicles can become dangerously hot at any time of year. This statement sounds almost ludicrous, but it’s true.
Why is hot car harm a four-season threat?
Hot car deaths claim the lives of dozens of kids every year. Most of these deaths occur because kids are forgotten in the back seat during the summer months. Yet, approximately one out of every four hot car deaths occur when kids access a car on their own. When this happens in a poorly ventilated, warm garage in the winter or outside on an unseasonably hot spring or fall day, tragedy can result.
Kids can also get unintentionally locked in the trunk of a hot car when playing hide and seek or otherwise trying to find a quiet spot to escape the chaos of their surroundings. When a caregiver’s negligence, recklessness or intentional action contribute to a hot car death, it may be possible to hold them accountable in civil court.
It has been widely reported that hot car deaths are second only to crash-related deaths when it comes to travel-related fatalities for children age 14 and younger. As a result, car safety plans need to take this risk into consideration as crashes alone are not the only influences that can cause vehicular-related deaths of America’s youth.