Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2007
Senator Susan Paddack
Senate Committee Advances Bill Aimed at
Kids Left in Cars
Leaving a child alone in a vehicle can be deadly—especially
in the summertime. Yet every year there are tragic reports about
children and infants dying after being left alone in hot cars. Sen.
Susan Paddack is hoping to decrease such incidents with SB 551,
the Forget-Me-Not Vehicle Safety Act. The measure was approved by
the Senate Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday.
“I’ve seen one study that says on the average, about
30 children a year die nationwide from either being left in a hot
car or getting into parked a car without any supervision and being
trapped,” said Paddack, D-Ada. “We also know that kids
left in cars can be kidnapped by car thieves, and we’ve seen
that happen in Oklahoma as well.”
Studies have shown that when the temperature outside is 85 degrees,
it only takes 15 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 100 degrees.
Within another half hour, it climbs to 120 degrees. Because children
are more vulnerable to heat, their body temperature can increase
three to five times faster than an adult’s.
SB 551 would make it illegal to leave a child six or younger alone
in a car, although they could remain in a vehicle if another person
who is at least 12 years old, such as a sibling, is with them. A
first time offense would be a misdemeanor with a fine of at least
$50. A second offense would result in a fine of at least $100 and
a requirement to perform at least 50 hours of community service.
A third or subsequent offense would result in a fine of at least
$200, and a full record of all related convictions would be submitted
to the Department of Human Services for Evaluation.
Anyone leaving a child alone in a vehicle while drinking inside
a bar would face a fine of at least $500. All provisions of the
bill apply to anyone leaving a vulnerable adult unattended in a
vehicle as well.
“We want to send a message loud and clear that leaving children
alone in cars can be a deadly mistake,” Paddack said. “If
we can get that message out through legislation, then I think we
should do it.”
SB 551 next will be considered by the full Senate.
For more information contact:
Senator Paddack's Office - (405) 521-5618