Senator introduces hot car sensor legislation to prevent more deaths

NEW YORK (CBS News) — 11 children died in hot vehicles during the month of July. It was the deadliest month for children in five years. Kris Van Cleave tells us how new legislation hopes to prevent more tragedy.

“I have not forgiven myself,” says Miles Harrison.

Miles and Carol Harrison always wanted a child, overjoyed when they adopted Chase. But on a busy 90 degree day in July 2008, Miles forgot to drop the 21-month-old off at day care leaving him in the back seat of his car while he went to work.

“And it’s heartbreaking because I did it, I killed my son,” says Miles Harrison.

“Nobody thinks it will happen to them, until it happens,” says Carol Harrison.

Chase’s death was one of more than 700 heat stroke deaths of children left in cars since 1998, an average of 37 per year. The first seven months of this year have been the worst in terms of heat-related child car deaths since 2010.

“All cars ought to include sensors that can very simply save lives,” says Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

To prevent these tragedies, Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced legislation that would require carmakers to install sensor technology, alerting drivers to a baby left in a car seat.

“Consumers should want this product just as they do seat belts and air bags,” says Senator Blumenthal.

General Motors began offering a similar sensor for some models this year, but the alliance of automobile manufacturers says the proposed mandate would miss the car buyers who need it most because so few parents of young children buy new cars.

Senator Blumenthal, a Democrat, believes any added cost for the standard feature would be minimal. He says the measure should attract strong bipartisan support, and he hopes to see it on new cars as soon as 2019.

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