When the weather starts to heat up here in Bellingham, I think about kids and pets in hot cars. Seems like we live in a cool enough climate in late May that we shouldn’t need to worry about hot cars, right? Not so. It doesn’t take much before a car becomes too hot for a living creature to stand. The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30º F…and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that’s 110 degrees inside your vehicle!

There are some laws that every good Washington driver who has kids or pets should know. No child under 16 is allowed to remain in a car without an adult present. If you leave your child or pet in a hot car, a police officer would be permitted to break your window to release them. The officer wouldn’t even have to determine if it’s a hot day or not before breaking a window to release a child. Here is the statute.

Technology is here to help parents, petparents, and caregivers figure out if their car is too hot (I know, I know. But read on.) Wal-Mart and Evenflo teamed up to build this new car seat design. “It has a wireless receiver that plugs into a car’s on-board diagnostic port and syncs with the chest clip that goes around the baby. It does not require the use of Bluetooth, cellular or other devices, the companies said,” according to this CNN article.

Just how hot does a car have to be in order for it to be deadly? When it’s a balmy 75 degrees outside, the inside of the car can reach 90 degrees in just two minutes. Give it an hour, and it’s 120 degrees in there.

More and more, technology is integrated right into products to promote the safety of those who use them. This previous article from my blog talks about the “circle of safety”   – technology designed to protect all sides of the vehicle in ways that human error might miss.

As you can see, the car doesn’t have to be moving to be deadly. If you are ever injured because of someone else’s negligence or mistake and need help understanding your rights, don’t hesitate to call Bill Coats Law. Bill is the top personal injury attorney in Whatcom and Skagit Counties combined, working with injured people to secure their rights. Contact him today at 360-303-0601 for a free consultation.

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