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WASHINGTON — In the summer of 2008, Miles Harrison of Purcellville, Virginia, did it every morning: He loaded his young son in the car, in order to drop him off at day care.
But on a hot July morning he made a mistake, which later proved to be deadly. He forgot his son in the car.
The boy, named Chase, died of heat stroke after spending hours in the car.
“I live with the shame, and the guilt, and the horror of what I did, everyday,” Harrison said.
On Capitol Hill, Harrison is helping to renew a push for legislation which he believes could prevent another parent from forgetting a child in the car. It is called the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats (HOT CARS) Act of 2017. The bills sponsors in congress are Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio; Rep. Peter King, R-NY; and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.
The bill would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to force automakers to outfit new cars with technology that would notify drivers if a passenger is in the back seat after the car is turned off.
“When you leave your keys in the car, there is an alarm, why not an alarm when you leave your child?” Harrison said.
Ryan says the bill would move the nation one step further to getting inexpensive technology in every car on the road with the ultimate goal of saving the lives of children.
“No child should endure the tragedy of dying while trapped in a hot vehicle,” Ryan said in a statement. He continued, “The unfortunate reality is that even good, loving and attentive parents can get distracted.”
Similar bills have been introduced in years past, but have failed to become law.
Harrison calls the bill “the right piece of legislation” and he is hopeful it will be successful and prevent parents from making the same tragic mistake he did.
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