New Tech May Prevent Hot Car Child Deaths

On average, 37 children die every year due to being left in a hot car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since 1998, a devastating total of 772 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke. It’s heartbreaking that so many young lives have been lost, and although these fatalities are 100% preventable, the number continues to rise each year. Newsweek reported that as of July 24, there have been 28 hot car deaths reported so far, with an additional 3 child hot car deaths currently under investigation.

Detroit Kid Car Crash Lawyer

It is difficult to imagine that a parent or guardian could forget their child in the car, yet according to San Antonio Express News, this is the case for approximately half of the reported heatstroke incidents. While stories of children being intentionally left in hot vehicles receive a lot of media attention, this type of hot car fatality occurs less frequently. Parents do not always have to be directly involved, because the NHTSA claims that approximately every 3 in 10 heat stroke fatalities take place when children are playing and decide to climb into unattended, unlocked vehicles.

In just a few minutes, the inside of a car can climb up to 125 °F. This is a dangerous temperature for any human, but it is especially dangerous for children because, “a child's body temperatures rise 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s.” For perspective, according to the NHTSA, “a core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.” Temperature increases occur in the first 10 minutes after the ignition is turned off, regardless of whether the windows are rolled down or not. That is why, even if the windows are left cracked, it is never acceptable to leave children alone in vehicle.

In recent years, technology has been developed to help remind parents to check their backseat, with the goal of preventing children from being left in the vehicle. Since over half of the hot car death cases involve caretakers unintentionally forgetting children, increased use of this new technology has the potential to significantly lower the annual fatality rate. San Antonio Express News recently published an article naming three technology-based options parents can take advantage of to protect the safety of their child, which are discussed below.

In early 2018, car-seat company Cybex released “SensorSafe” technology into their Sirona model car seat. The chest buckle of the car seat is connected via bluetooth to the car and the caretaker’s cell phone. When the buckle is closed, a bluetooth connection is activated. Once the vehicle’s ignition is turned off, a series of alerts are sent to the car dashboard and the connected phone. The car buckle must be unclasped in 4 minutes, or else additional alerts will be sent, not only to the parent, but also to emergency contacts listed. Parents can choose to click either “ignore” or “acknowledge” on the notification itself, showing that they were indeed aware that their child was still in the car seat. Once the belt is unclasped, the bluetooth connection is deactivated. While the Sirona car seat retails for $329.99, it uses cutting edge technology that could be extremely helpful to parents who can afford to purchase it.

Waze

Waze

Car manufacturers are also aware of the problem surrounding child hot car deaths. In 2017, General Motors added a rear-seat reminder system to over 20 of their models. It’s only standard on 10 Chevrolet models, but it can be selected as an add on feature to others. It simply works by sending the driver an alert to remind them that they opened the rear door of their vehicle after they turn off the ignition. This is a great option for any parent looking to buy a new car, but is not practical for those who are currently content with the vehicle they own. For these parents, they can download an app called Waze. In 2016, the popular navigation app added a “Child Reminder” feature, which when activated, sends the driver a notification to, “check your car before you leave” once the destination is reached. This solution is completely free and only requires that the parent inputs their destination once they enter the vehicle, which they might already have done to receive navigational directions.

Most people have experienced the feeling of discomfort after getting into a car that has been sitting in the sun. Now imagine being a child and being unable to escape the excruciating heat. This is a situation that should never happen. Taking advantage of technology like the Cybex “SensorSafe” car seat or the Waze App “Child Reminder” feature can help prevent the fatalities that result from leaving kids unintentionally in vehicles. However, technology may not be an option for all families. Something all parents can do that is free and simple is to, “look before you lock,” as recommended by the NHTSA. It’s an easy habit that could potentially be life saving. With daily life increasingly revolving around cellphones, it is even suggested that parents put their phones or something important like a briefcase or groceries in the backseat to help remind them to check for their child. Ultimately, parents need to find a effective solution, whether it involves technology or not, that works for them and ensures their child does not become another statistic.


Unfortunately, stories of children and pets left alone in hot cars every time summer rolls around has become all too common. While it’s easy to get distracted in today’s nonstop world, parents need to make the safety of their children their number one priority. No matter how hectic life gets, it is never okay to leave a child or a pet in a hot car. Parents should always check the back seat when they reach their destination, and lock their car after making sure no one is inside. For a free legal consultation with an experienced accident attorney regarding any type of auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Driving With Your Dog In Your Lap May Soon Be Illegal

Today, it seems like dogs can come with us everywhere - airplanes, restaurants, malls, etc. We love to take them with us whenever possible, and they are often considered part of the family. They’re man’s best friend! But soon, dogs may not be allowed in the driver’s seat of a car. A newly proposed Michigan law would make it illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a dog riding in their lap.

Michigan Dog Car Crash Lawyer

According to Click on Detroit, House Bill 5277 was introduced in the Michigan State House on November 28, 2017 by Detroit Democratic Representative LaTanya Grant. The bill clearly states that, “an individual shall not operate a motor vehicle while a dog is sitting in his or her lap." The only exception would be for cases in which the dog must be in the driver’s lap for medical purposes, and the driver would need to have American Disability Act paperwork to prove that it is necessary.

Should the bill become law, drivers would be fined $100 for their first offense, and $200 for every offense thereafter. Rep. Grant said that, “this is about making sure Michigan drivers are safe. It's just too much going on when a driver really needs to be focused on the road. Two seconds of being distracted can cost lives, it can be very fatal."

Detroit Dog Crash Lawyer

Currently, laws regarding dogs, and all animals for that matter, in vehicles, are a bit of a grey area. Michigan State Police spokesperson Shannon Banner told MLive that Michigan legislature currently prohibits transporting an animal in a vehicle, “without providing a secure space, rack, car, crate, or cage, in which livestock may stand, and in which all other animals may stand, turn around, and lie down during transportation." But the definition of what exactly a, “secure space” is, is open to interpretation, and is usually determined on a case by case basis.

Many view the issue of driving with a dog on your lap as a form of distracted driving. The dog could potentially block the driver’s view of windows, and hinder the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle - both of which are actions that could result in a car crash. If this bill passes, it will be the first law in the State of Michigan to directly address driving with a dog in your lap.

In the meantime, laws regarding safe driving still exist. When you get behind the wheel, you are responsible for maintaining safe operation of your vehicle by following proper use of lanes and maintaining control of the vehicle. Both of these driving responsibilities can be hindered by riding with a dog in your lap. In other words, while you cannot currently be ticketed for driving with a dog in your lap, if doing so causes you to practice unsafe driving, you can be ticketed for that.

The proposed bill has been turned over to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for further review. In the meantime, think twice before you let the family pet ride in your lap. It’s likely that having a dog in your lap hinders your driving abilities to some degree. Let the dog ride shotgun, or on the floor, or in the backseat. In fact, make sure the dog is safe in a moving vehicle by using a pet harness that prevents it from getting injured in the event of a car accident. There are plenty of alternatives to having a dog in your lap, and the petting and cuddles can wait until you reach your destination. For more information about pet passenger safety, check out The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog!


Driving with a dog sitting on your lap may encourage distracted driving, and distracted driving can lead to fatal car crashes. If you have been involved in a distracted driving automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our accident attorneys are highly experinced in helping victims of car accidents identiy and collect any benegits they may be entitled to. For a free legal consultation, call 844.4MI.FIRM.

Four-Legged Driver Crashes Car Into Grocery Store

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In Wayne, West Virginia last summer, witnesses saw a car rolling towards and eventually crashing into a grocery store. When they ran to the car to see what happened, however, they were in for a surprise. According to CNN, witnesses spotted two dogs in the car all by themselves. The pups were the ones who "drove" into the grocery store!

The owner of the vehicle had left the car running to keep her dogs cool while she ran into the grocery store. While she was in the store, the dogs somehow switched the car into drive and went rolling straight for all those groceries. They must have been enticed by the smell of food inside! 

Luckily, the car didn’t go too far, as it came to a stop after hitting a concrete pillar near the storefront. Witnesses ran to the car hoping that everybody was alright, which is when they discovered that it was actually a dog in the driver’s seat. Some said that the entire car accident played out just like a cartoon. 

Thankfully, both the car and the store had little damage, and no charges have been filed against the car owner. The dogs got home safely thanks to their owner, who drove them home after the incident.

Pet Car Safety Lawyer Michigan

Though two dogs accidentally operating a vehicle and causing an accident is a funny and unusual story, it can also teach a valuable lesson. Unlikely situations such as this, though more frequent in cartoons, can happen in real life. While it isn’t safe to leave dogs locked in a car with no air, as the car can quickly get too hot for the dogs in the scorching summer heat, it also isn’t smart to leave the car running without a human inside. After all, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog recently informed it's readers about the seriousness of storefront car crashes and how most barriers currently don't stop cars from rolling forward. It's possible for pets who are left inside cars to accidentally change gears, or a stranger could recognize that the car is running and take off with the car and pets. It is important to take care of one's own vehicle at all times, so as to ensure safety for everyone.


Luckily, neither humans nor dogs were injured in this bizarre accident and not much damage was done to the store or the vehicle. However, car accidents are not funny and can cause serious injury to drivers and all passengers, including pets. If you or somebody you know has been injured in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Fourth Of July Travel Safety Tips

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As the Fourth of July, one of the most anticipated holidays of the year, approaches, many American families are preparing to travel to celebrate this patriotic day. Thousands of people take to the roads on Independence Day, contributing to what U.S. News describes as “the busiest summer travel holiday.” This year, the holiday weekend will extend longer than normal, from Friday, June 30th to Tuesday, July 4th, when AAA Travel says a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home. As a result, drivers need to extra careful when traveling on the roads over the longer weekend, since other drivers may have over-indulged in celebratory beverages at barbecues and parties.

To avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident, travelers may want to follow the Fourth of July Travel Safety Tips below, recommended by TODAY:

  • Follow basic safety practices. Wearing seatbelts, using helmets, being mindful of speed limits, and remembering to not drink and drive can go a long way to keeping roads safe.
  • Take preventative measures. Check oil levels and tire pressure, along with coolant levels, because cars may overheat when stuck in traffic. Car owners may also benefit from a check-up with a mechanic, prior to a long road trip, to examine vehicles for any unusual problems that might impede driving vacation.
  • Plan trips with timing in mind. If it can be helped, it can be safer to travel a few days before or a few days after the Fourth of July, as the days closer to the holiday tend to be more congested.
  • Keep a safe following distance. Stay three seconds or more behind the car, truck, or motorcycle in front of you. This will allow you enough time to brake if you need to stop suddenly.
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  • Minimize distractions. Keep phones put away and out of reach, leave snacks and drinks in the cooler, and turn the radio stations on before leaving the driveway. If mobile devices absolutely must be in the car, hand them to a passenger to control or utilize one of these safety apps researched by The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC to help prevent a deadly collision from distracted driving. Besides these distractions, road trips also call for additional reasons to focus on the road. Arguments, even if they are in the backseat, may make drivers anxious or cause them to take their eyes and ears off the road. Pets, along for the vacation, should be kept inside a carrier or fascinated into pet-specific seat belts, so as not to jump into the front seat and distract the driver. Additionally, loose items like sunglasses and maps might fall from the dashboard or overhead sun visors, startling drivers enough to threaten the safety of everyone in the car.
  • Know where you are going. Look up directions for road trip routes beforehand, making a plan for the hours spent on the road. Enlist a passenger to help navigate, so that the driver can focus on getting to the destination safely. Remember not to look at a phone screen for distractions while also behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.  
  • Get plenty of rest. Prior to traveling over the Independence Day weekend, don’t forget to sleep in the midst of packing and planning. Lack of sleep can lead to drowsiness while driving, which is a risk factor for severe car crashes. Car drivers should take frequent breaks and rotate drivers if necessary.
Michigan Car Crash Attorney

The Fourth of July can be fun for everyone, as it is a day off work to enjoy the summer weather, cook out in backyards, and swim in the lake. Holiday road trips are a great way to bond with family and friends, and visit destinations, both new locales and well-loved spots. However, drivers must always be cautious of their surroundings, especially during such a busy time for travelers. Keep flashes of red, white, and blue to the fireworks in the sky instead of blinking on top of police cars. There is no doubt which would make the Founding Fathers more proud.


The 4th of July is a day to celebrate freedom for all people in the United States of America. Driving is a privilege not a freedom. Don't take advantage of the holiday as a reason to drive dangerously, drunkenly, or distractedly this upcoming Independence Day weekend. If you or someone you know has been a victim of an automobile collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Newborn Baby Abandoned In Unknown Car

Child Hot Car Lawyer Michigan

A visitor to Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI discovered a newborn baby abandoned in a car in the hospital parking lot, on the morning of June 12, 2017 and alerted police. The baby was not found in its parents' car but in an unknown man's vehicle. Officials are currently working to get to the bottom of the case. It has been reported that the baby’s 24-year-old mother is currently cooperating with investigators. However, it is still unclear whether or not the baby’s mother knows the man in whose car the baby was found.

Luckily, the baby, who appears to have been born within the last week, is in good health. However, the baby's abandonment is even more alarming because of the recent hot Summer weather in Michigan. Temperatures outside on Monday, June 12th reached the mid-90s, turning the inside of vehicles into ovens. It is of course, never safe to leave children or pets inside hot cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that from 1998-2016, 700 children died from heatstroke in vehicles. 54% of these deaths were due to the child being forgotten in a car by a caregiver. While a few minutes in a hot car might sound harmless, in just ten minutes, a car can heat up to 20 degrees higher than the outside temperature, which can be enough to kill children who are left in vehicles. Additionally, children are often too young to alert others for help if they are trapped in an abandoned car.

Source:  Kars4Kids.org

It is therefore important to “check for baby” before leaving the car, to ensure child hot car safety. Making it a habit to check the backseat before leaving the car can prevent children from being left behind on hot days. The non-profit organization Kars4Kids wants to help bring awareness to this important subject. They have developed an app to help forgetful parents remember that there is someone alive and breathing in the back of their vehicle, among the mountains of groceries.

They have created an app, called Kars4Kids Safety, which is designed to set off an alarm every time a phone that has the app leaves a vehicle. It does this by connecting to a car's Bluetooth technology to track when a user goes in and out of a vehicle. A customizable ringtone and option to add your child's photo make remembering to double check one's car as easy as posting on Facebook about your baby's first trip to the pool. Considering that even with windows rolled two inches down, a car can overheat at mercury-defying rates, Kars4Kids is helping fight for child car safety.  

Not only is it important to make sure children aren't left in cars, but it is equally important to not allow them to break into a vehicle when adult attention is turned away. Cars may look like giant playgrounds to small children, but in reality they are powerful, dangerous machines that should only be used for driving and not for hide and seek. By locking the car when it is not in use and by keeping keys out of reach of children, children can be stopped from being able to get into a vehicle and potentially trapping themselves inside.  

Michigan Child Car Safety Lawyer

While most parents and caretakers unintentionally leave children and pets in cars because they were distracted and forgot about the quiet dog or sleeping baby in the back, others think it's ok to leave a child in a car because they'll be right back in just one minute. While these actions are dangerous to the child, they are not done with ill intent. The Grand Rapids baby on the other hand was presumably, intentionally, abandoned in a hot car in a hospital parking lot. It's a shame that this is how the mother decided to leave her child when, according to CBS Detroit, the State of Michigan allows people to surrender their newborn babies to hospitals and other emergency care providers, without having to worry about criminal charges. In fact, the mother could have left the baby safely with a health care professional in the hospital itself, where she presumably gave birth, and not outside in a hot car. No matter what, there is no excuse for leaving a child to die alone in a hot vehicle. 

Driving with children always requires extra precautions, particularly in the Summer when scorching hot temperatures make vehicles burn to the touch. With the rescue and shelter resources available around the State of Michigan, there is no reason a child should be left behind. On June 12, a stranger saved a newborn baby's life. Next time, someone might not be there until it is too late.


Children should never be left in car on sweltering hot Summer days, for their own safety. If you so someone you know is in need of legal assistance relating to an incident of child car safety, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.Firm for a free consultation.

Pet Passenger Safety

It’s not uncommon to see people traveling with their pets whether they are going to and from a friend's house for a pet play date, traveling on vacation, or even just running errands. While it's common to see dogs hanging their heads out of car windows, just how safe is it to have a pet in a moving vehicle?

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The Dangers of Traveling With Pets

According to Kurgo, a leading supplier in dog traveling products, only 16% of dog owners who drive with their pets actually restrain them inside the vehicle. Letting pets roam free is not only dangerous for man's furry little friend, but for the driver too. Cuteness aside, pets can serve as a huge distraction to the driver by barking, seeking attention for pets, or climbing all over the vehicle. These distractions can cause the driver to become more concerned about attending to their pet rather keeping their eyes on the road. 

Pet Safety Precautions

The American Humane Society (AHS) recommends that when traveling with animals, it is best for pets to travel in a carrier that has been secured to the vehicle by a seat belt or by other secure means. There are even custom or specifically engineered dog restraints and belts that drivers can purchase to keep pets still in the vehicle, which in turn prevents them from causing distractions to the driver. 

Another precaution to take when driving with a pet is to stop them from sticking their heads out of the window. This can lead to the pet becoming sick, accidentally being blinded by debris, or getting it's head stuck or caught in the window, which not only hurts them but requires the driver to take their eyes off the road to help the animal. There is also the possibility that unsecured pets, especially those small in size, could jump or fall out of the window. Not only would a dog ejected from a window cause the driver to immediately stop possibly leading to the driver being rear-ended, but a dog in the middle of traffic could cause endless commotion to other motorists, many more potential accidents, and even the dog's death.

In the case of such an accident or in the event that the pet is experiencing a Marley & Me moment, pets should always wear their ID collar so that they can be properly identified and/or tracked. Finally, The AHS would suggest taking frequent rest stops so that pets can walk off excessive energy and go to the bathroom.  

Source: GIPHY,  Marley & Me

Source: GIPHY, Marley & Me

Pet-Safe Vehicles

For those who really love to travel with their pets, the safest way to transport them is to use a roomy vehicle. According to Autotrader, a minivan or crossover SUV would be best suited for pet travel. These types of vehicles provide more room for crates and allow pets to have enough space be comfortably move around but not enough that they distract the driver.

Drivers who travel with their pet should also look for vehicles with rear climate control, a containment barrier to keep the front seat a designated human area, and a rear lift-gate to make getting animals in and out of the vehicle easier. 

Autotrader’s 2016 Pet-Friendly Vehicles Include:

  • Volkswagen Tiguan 
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Volvo XC90

Pets are a cherished addition to any family and as such, their humans should take their safety just as seriously. Since most pets are the size of children, not restraining them when vehicles are in motion may result in serious injury or even death, in the event of a motor vehicle accident. While accidents are sometimes unavoidable, by following these tips, hopefully people will be better able to protect their pets while traveling. 


Pet owners should be prepared to take the necessary precautions to protect their pet because accidents can happen in a blink of an eye. If you or someone you know has been injured in a collision due to a pet’s distraction, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys know how much pets mean to their humans but also how dangerous they can be when let loose in a moving vehicle. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.