State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley) today introduced legislation along with State Senator Jim Hughes (R- Columbus) that would grant civil immunity to Ohio citizens that forcibly remove a child or pet from a locked vehicle under certain urgent circumstances.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131° F - 172° F when outside temperatures are 80° F – 100° F. Even outside temperatures in the 60s can cause a car temperature to rise well above 110° F."

Under this legislation, a vehicle must be locked and no other reasonable method for the child or animal to exit may exist. The rescuer must act in good faith that the forcible entry into the vehicle is a necessary response to imminent danger that the child or pet faces as a result of excessive temperatures in the vehicle. The person must contact 9-1-1 prior to forcibly entering the vehicle.

"As a father of three young children, I am proud to sponsor this legislation so that we can prevent the tragic stories we hear too often about deaths which occur when children and pets are left alone in hot vehicles," said LaRose. "This is a common sense measure that provides protection for good samaritans that forcibly enter a vehicle to save the life of a child or rescue a pet."

The non-profit group Kids and Cars, a national advocate for child safety, notes that 600 children have died in hot vehicles since 1990. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that fourteen states have rescue provisions regarding distressed animals.

Senate Bill 215 will now be assigned to a Senate standing committee for further deliberation.

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