– Sen. Al Franken has introduced legislation that aims to prevent children from being trapped in hot cars.

The measure would require newly manufactured cars to come equipped with sensors that alert the driver if a child is still in the back seat of the car after the vehicle is turned off. Franken, D-Minn., noted that 37 children a year die in overheated cars.

“We can do something to prevent these terrible tragedies. … I want to see this lifesaving technology become the standard in our cars,” he said in a statement.

The Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats (HOT CARS) Act directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require newly manufactured vehicles to come equipped with the technology, which already exists in some cars. The bill also directs the NHTSA to study how to retrofit existing cars with the alert systems.

GM has introduced a rear-seat reminder in some models that alerts drivers to look in the back seat if the system detects that a back door was opened and closed before the driver got in and began operating the car.

The bill is also being sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who said in a statement that it “can take mere minutes on a hot day for a car to turn into a deathtrap for a small child. This basic technology, combined with public awareness and vigilance, can help prevent these catastrophes and save lives.”

Maya Rao