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                                                      Calendar No. 404
116th Congress      }                                   {       Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session         }                                   {      116-204
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

 
  HELPING OVERCOME TRAUMA FOR CHILDREN ALONE IN REAR SEATS ACT OF 2019

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1601

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                January 13, 2020.--Ordered to be printed 
                                __________
		
                 U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
		                      
99-010                     WASHINGTON : 2020 
		               
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred sixteenth congress
                             first session

                 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi, Chairman
JOHN THUNE, South Dakota             MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
TED CRUZ, Texas                      RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 TOM UDALL, New Mexico
CORY GARDNER, Colorado               GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee          TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia  TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
MIKE LEE, Utah                       JON TESTER, Montana
RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
RICK SCOTT, Florida
                       John Keast, Staff Director
               David Strickland, Minority Staff Director

























                                                      Calendar No. 404
116th Congress      }                                   {       Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session         }                                   {      116-204
======================================================================



 
  HELPING OVERCOME TRAUMA FOR CHILDREN ALONE IN REAR SEATS ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

                January 13, 2020.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. Wicker, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1601]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1601) to direct the Secretary 
of Transportation to issue a rule requiring all new passenger 
motor vehicles to be equipped with a child safety alert system, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear 
Seats (HOT CARS) Act of 2019 is intended to help reduce the 
instances of child vehicular heatstroke-related deaths by 
directing a rulemaking to require passenger vehicles to be 
equipped with an alert system reminding caregivers to check the 
rear seat before exiting the vehicle. This legislation also 
provides for increased education efforts on the dangers of 
leaving an unattended passenger in a vehicle.

                          Background and Needs

    Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-
related deaths in children under age 15. More than 800 children 
have died due to vehicular heatstroke since 1998, including 
more than 17 in Mississippi.\1\ On average, there are 38 
confirmed child deaths annually,\2\ and, in 2018, 54 children 
died of heat-related deaths in vehicles, a record number.\3\ In 
more than half of these deaths, the caregiver unknowingly left 
the child in the vehicle and 28 percent were due to the child 
independently accessing the vehicle.\4\ Therefore, many of 
these deaths could be prevented.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Null, Jan, ``Heatstroke Deaths of Childen in Vehicles: Deaths by 
State,'' Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State 
University, San Jose, California, April 20, 2019 (https://
www.noheatstroke.org/state.htm).
    \2\``Heatstroke,'' Kids and Cars, April 2019 (https://
www.kidsandcars.org/how-kids-get-hurt/heat-stroke/). See also ``Child 
Vehicular Heatstroke Fatalities (1990-2018),'' Kids and Cars, September 
2019 (https://www.kidsandcars.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/
heatstroke-map.pdf) (noting that the total number of deaths listed 
``should be considered an undercount of the actual number of child 
vehicular heatstroke fatalities due to no official state data 
collection systems'').
    \3\Ibid. See also ``112 Animal Companions Endured Heat-Related 
Deaths in 2018 ... That We Know Of,'' People for the Ethical Treatment 
of Animals (PETA), September 25, 2019 (https://www.peta.org/features/
dogs-and-other-companion-animals-suffer-heat-related-deaths/).
    \4\``Heatstroke,'' Kids and Cars, April 2019 (https://
www.kidsandcars.org/how-kids-get-hurt/heat-stroke/).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tragically, heatstroke can occur across the Nation and to 
anyone. Research has shown that young children are 
significantly more vulnerable to the increase in temperatures 
when compared to adults.\5\ According to the American Academy 
of Pediatrics (AAP), a child's body heats up three to five 
times faster than an adult's body.\6\ Outside researchers 
consulted by Consumer Reports reported the threshold for 
heatstroke is when the internal body reaches 104 degrees 
Fahrenheit, but a child is severely at risk of death when the 
body reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit.\7\ One study found that 
within just 10 minutes the temperature in a vehicle can rise up 
to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.\8\ In addition, contrary to popular 
belief, cracking a window or residual cooling from air 
conditioning that was previously turned on makes little to no 
difference once the vehicle is turned off.\9\ Given the fast 
rate of temperature increase, vehicle heatstroke can occur with 
outside temperatures as low as 57 degrees.\10\ As a result, 
vehicular heatstroke-related deaths have occurred in all 
States, except Alaska, Vermont, and New Hampshire.\11\ While 
heatstroke is not time or place specific, most hyperthermia 
deaths occur during summer months when temperatures are the 
highest.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\``Look Before You Lock: Fact Sheet,'' Kids and Cars, 2019 
(http://www.kidsandcars.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Heatstroke-fact-
sheet-2019.pdf).
    \6\``Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars,'' American Academy of 
Pediatrics (AAP), July 18, 2018 (https://www.healthychildren.org/
English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Prevent-Child-Deaths-in-Hot-
Cars.aspx).
    \7\``Hot Car Fatalities Are a Year-Round Threat to Children and 
Pets: CR's Testing Shows It Doesn't Take Hot Weather for Kids to Wind 
Up in Danger.'' Consumer Reports, July 31, 2019 (https://
www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/hot-car-fatalities-year-round-
threat-to-children-pets-heat-stroke/).
    \8\Willingham, AJ., ``More Than 36 Kids Die in Hot Cars Every Year 
and July Is Usually the Deadliest Month,'' CNN, July 20, 2018 (https://
www.cnn.com/2018/07/03/health/hot-car-deaths-child-charts-graphs-trnd/
index.html).
    \9\``Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars,'' AAP, July 18, 2018 
(https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/
Pages/Prevent-Child-Deaths-in-Hot-Cars.aspx).
    \10\Ibid.
    \11\``Child Vehicular Heatstroke Fatalities (1990-2018),'' Kids and 
Cars, April 2019 (http://www.kidsandcars.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/
05/heatstroke-19-map.pdf).
    \12\Willingham, AJ., ``More Than 36 Kids Die in Hot Cars Every Year 
and July Is Usually the Deadliest Month,'' CNN, July 20, 2018 (https://
www.cnn.com/2018/07/03/health/hot-car-deaths-child-charts-graphs-trnd/
index.html).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To tackle vehicle heatstroke-related deaths, NHTSA launched 
its first national safety campaign entitled, ``Where's Baby? 
Look Before You Lock'' in April 2012.\13\ The campaign focuses 
on educating the public to the dangers of leaving children 
unattended in deactivated vehicles and provides effective 
preventative measures that caregivers can implement in order to 
decrease incidents.\14\ NHTSA further engaged the public on 
July 31, 2018, for National Heatstroke Prevention Day by 
hosting a tweetup where the agency posted statistics, 
prevention tips, and heatstroke awareness messages every 15 
minutes on all social media platforms in order to spread the 
word and remind parents about vehicular child safety.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, ```Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock' Campaign Warns 
About the Dangers of Heatstroke for Kids in Cars,'' April 3, 2012 
(https://usdotblog.typepad.com/secretarysblog/2012/04/wheres-baby-look-
before-you-lock-psa-warns-about-the-dangers-of-hyperthermia-in-
cars.html#.XREAqI5KjmE).
    \14\Id.
    \15\Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, ``Consumer Advisory: Heatstroke Prevention Day--July 
31,'' July 30, 2018 (https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-
releases/consumer-advisory-heatstroke-prevention-day-july-31).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While education is important to this effort, technology 
provides a much stronger solution to warn caregivers. GM,\16\ 
Nissan,\17\ and Hyundai/Kia\18\ vehicles deployed some systems 
to alert the driver to check the back seat for remaining 
passengers when the vehicle is turned off. In addition, the 
European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), a 5-star 
safety rating system in Europe to assess the safety standards 
of various vehicles, has included child detection systems in 
its assessment process.\19\ Starting in 2022, Euro NCAP is 
expected to award manufacturers that include the safety feature 
in new vehicles. Despite the initial action from the industry 
and international bodies, NHTSA is not expected to initiate a 
rulemaking to require this technology in the near future.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\``GMC Leads Industry with New Rear Seat Reminder: All-new 2017 
GMC Acadia Introduces Industry-first Feature to Help Busy Drivers,'' 
GMC Pressroom, June 13, 2016 (https://media.gmc.com/media/us/en/gmc/
vehicles/acadia/2017.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2016/jun/
0613-rear-seat-reminder.html).
    \17\Thomas, Emily A., Ph.D., ``Nissan Rear Door Alert Aims to 
Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars: Consumer Reports' Evaluation Shows 
That the New Alert Has Merit But Could Use Improvements,'' Consumer 
Reports, July 31, 2018 (https://www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/
nissan-rear-door-alert-aims-to-prevent-child-deaths-in-hot-cars/).
    \18\Monticello, Mike, ``2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Rear Occupant Alert 
Aims to Protect Kids form Hot Cars: The Safety System Adds Ultrasonic 
Motion Sensors to Detect Children Left in the Rear Seat, But Only If 
Car Doors Are Locked,'' Consumer Reports, July 31, 2018 (https://
www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/hyundai-santa-fe-rear-occupant-
alert-aims-to-protect-kids-from-hot-cars/).
    \19\``Euro NCAP 20/25 Roadmap: In Pursuit of Vision Zero,'' Euro 
NCAP, September 2017, pg. 11 (https://cdn.euroncap.com/media/30700/
euroncap-roadmap-2025-v4.pdf).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Summary of Provisions

    S. 1601 would do the following:
   Direct the Department of Transportation (DOT) to 
        issue a final rule requiring new passenger vehicles to 
        be equipped with a visual and auditory alert system to 
        remind caregivers to check the rear seat.
   Require States to use a portion of their highway 
        safety program funds to educate the public on the risks 
        of leaving a child or unattended passenger in a 
        vehicle.
   Require DOT to undertake a third-party study on 
        retrofitting existing passenger motor vehicles.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1601 was introduced on May 22, 2019, by Senator Wicker 
(for himself and Senators Blumenthal and Cantwell) and was 
referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate. Senators Schumer, McSally, 
Markey, Feinstein, Smith, Gillibrand, and Brown are additional 
cosponsors. On July 10, 2019, the Committee met in open 
Executive Session and, by voice vote, ordered the bill to be 
reported favorably without amendment.
    In the 115th Congress, similar legislation, S. 1666, 
Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats Act of 
2017, was introduced on July 27, 2017, by Senator Blumenthal 
(for himself and Senator Franken) and referred to the Committee 
on Commerce, Science and Transportation of the Senate. Senator 
Wicker was an additional cosponsor. A version of that bill was 
adopted by the Committee as part of the AV START Act in October 
2017.
    Additional similar legislation in the 115th Congress, H.R. 
2801, Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats 
Act, was introduced on June 7, 2017, by Representative Tim Ryan 
(for himself and Representatives King [R-NY] and Schakowsky [D-
IL]) and was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, 
and Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
Representatives. There were 22 additional cosponsors. A version 
of that bill was included in the SELF DRIVE Act, which passed 
the House of Representatives by voice vote on September 6, 
2017.
    The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the 
Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of 
Representatives held a hearing on May 23, 2019, entitled, 
``Summer Driving Dangers: Exploring Ways to Protect Drivers and 
Their Families.'' This hearing discussed the technological 
solutions to prevent hot car deaths and other motor vehicle 
accidents.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


    S. 1601 would require the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) to issue a new regulation requiring new 
passenger vehicles to have a system to alert the driver to 
check the backseat after the engine has been shut off. The bill 
also would require NHTSA to contract with an independent third 
party to complete a study on retrofitting passenger vehicles 
with technology to eliminate the risk of children being 
forgotten in the backseat. Using information from NHTSA, CBO 
estimates implementing those provisions would require one 
additional employee, several passenger vehicles for testing 
purposes, other equipment, and additional funds for the third-
party study. In total, implementing the bill would cost $3 
million over the 2020-2024 period, CBO estimates. Such spending 
would be subject to the availability of appropriations.
    S. 1601 also would require states that receive funding from 
NHTSA's Highway Safety Grants Program to use a portion of those 
grants to carry out public education programs on the risks of 
leaving a child in a vehicle that has been turned off. Those 
grants are funded by contract authority (a form of mandatory 
budget authority) and distributed to the states by formula. The 
bill would not authorize additional funds for those grants, and 
CBO expects that implementing the new public education programs 
would not significantly change the rate at which the NHTSA 
grant funds are spent by the states.
    S. 1601 would impose a private-sector mandate as defined in 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) on manufacturers of 
automobiles. CBO estimates that the cost of complying with the 
mandate would exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA 
($164 million in 2019, adjusted annually for inflation).
    Using data on vehicle sales from the Bureau of Economic 
Analysis, CBO estimates that manufacturers would need to 
install alert systems in more than 16 million motor vehicles 
annually. The cost of installing a system would depend on the 
rule to be issued by the Secretary of Transportation, which CBO 
expects would take effect in 2024. Although some auto 
manufacturers are currently installing rear-seat sensors in 
certain models and intend to make alert systems standard in 
their 2022 and 2023 models, CBO expects most auto manufacturers 
will have to develop or purchase rear-seat alert technology to 
comply with the department's rule. Therefore, CBO estimates 
that automobile manufacturers would incur several hundred 
million dollars in costs to comply with the mandate when it 
takes effect in 2024 and in each of the following four years.
    The bill contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in UMRA.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Robert Reese 
(for federal costs) and Brandon Lever (for mandates). The 
estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 1601, as reported, would impose new guidelines and 
requirements for passenger vehicle manufacturers and States 
currently subject to the Secretary's oversight, and therefore 
the number of persons covered would be consistent with existing 
law.

                            economic impact

    S. 1601 is not expected to have a negative impact on the 
Nation's economy as the Committee expects any burden by the 
additional requirements would be balanced by the benefits of 
reducing the number of deaths and injuries due to vehicular 
heatstroke.

                                privacy

    S. 1601 is not expected to have an adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals.

                               paperwork

    S. 1601 would not require new reporting requirements on 
regulated entities, but would require the Secretary to 
promulgate a final rule requiring passenger vehicles to be 
equipped with an alert system reminding caregivers to check the 
rear seat before exiting the vehicle, as well as report to 
Congress on the results of a third-party study on retrofitting 
existing passenger motor vehicles.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would provide that the bill may be cited as 
the ``Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats 
Act of 2019'' or ``HOT CARS Act of 2019.''

Section 2. Child safety.

    This section would direct the Secretary to issue a final 
rule within 2 years requiring new passenger vehicles to be 
equipped with a visual and auditory alert system to remind 
caregivers to check the rear seat.
    It also would require a portion of the States' highway 
safety program funds to be allocated toward education on the 
risks of leaving children unattended in deactivated motor 
vehicles.
    Finally, the section would require the Secretary to enter 
into an agreement with an independent third-party within a 
specified timeline to conduct a study on retrofitting existing 
passenger motor vehicles. The Secretary would be required to 
submit a report to the relevant Committees on the results of 
the third-party study.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                           TITLE 23--HIGHWAYS


                       CHAPTER 4--HIGHWAY SAFETY

Sec. 402. Highway safety programs

  (a) * * *
  (l) Unattended Passengers.--
          (1) In general.--Each State shall use a portion of 
        the amounts it receives under this section to carry out 
        a program to educate the public on the risks of leaving 
        a child or unattended passenger in a vehicle after the 
        vehicle motor is deactivated by the operator.
          (2) Program placement.--A State does not need to 
        carry out the program described in paragraph (1) 
        through the State transportation or highway safety 
        office.
  (m) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                        TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION


             SUBTITLE VI--MOTOR VEHICLE AND DRIVER PROGRAMS

            PART C--INFORMATION, STANDARDS, AND REQUIREMENTS

                   CHAPTER 323--CONSUMER INFORMATION

Sec.
32301. Definitions.
32302. Passenger motor vehicle information.
32303. Insurance information.
32304. Passenger motor vehicle country of origin labeling.
[32304A. Consumer tire information.]
32304A. Consumer tire information and standards.
32304B. Child safety.
32305. Information and assistance from other departments, agencies, and 
          instrumentalities.
32306. Personnel.
32307. Investigative powers.
32308. General prohibitions, civil penalty, and enforcement.
32309. Civil penalty for labeling violations.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 32304A. Consumer tire information and standards

  (a) * * *

Sec. 32304B. Child safety

  (a) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Passenger motor vehicle.--The term ``passenger 
        motor vehicle'' has the meaning given that term in 
        section 32101.
          (2) Rear designated seating position.--The term 
        ``rear designated seating position'' means designated 
        seating positions that are rearward of the front seat.
          (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the 
        Secretary of Transportation.
  (b) Rulemaking.--Not later than 2 years after the date of the 
enactment of the HOT CARS Act of 2019, the Secretary shall 
issue a final rule requiring all new passenger motor vehicles 
weighing less than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight to be 
equipped with a system to alert the operator to check rear 
designated seating positions after the vehicle engine or motor 
is deactivated by the operator.
  (c) Means.--The alert required under subsection (b)--
          (1) shall include a distinct auditory and visual 
        alert, which may be combined with a haptic alert; and
          (2) shall be activated when the vehicle motor is 
        deactivated by the operator.
  (d) Phase-In.--The rule issued pursuant to subsection (b) 
shall require full compliance with the rule beginning on 
September 1st of the first calendar year that begins 2 years 
after the date on which the final rule is issued.

                                  [all]