On July 22, 2021, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) sent group letters to U.S. Senate Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging proven safety solutions to be advanced as part of transportation and infrastructure legislation. To read the letter to Senator Schumer CLICK HERE. To read the letter to Speaker Pelosi CLICK HERE.
The letters were signed by:
Catherine Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Georges C. Benjamin MD, Executive Director American Public Health Association
Jason Levine, Executive Director, Center for Auto Safety
Joan Claybrook, Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways
Jack Gillis, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America
Rosemary Shahan, President, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety
Amy Cohen, Co-Founder, Families for Safe Streets
Janette Fennell, Founder and President, Kids and Car Safety
Melissa Wandall, President, National Coalition for Safer Roads
Daphne Izer, Co-Chair, Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.)
Russell Swift, Co-Chair, Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.)
Stephen Hargarten MD, Founding President, Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research
Jennifer Smith, CEO and Co-Founder, StopDistractions.org
Andrew McGuire, Founder and Executive Director, Trauma Foundation
Dawn King, President, Truck Safety Coalition
Leah Shahum, Founder and Director, Vision Zero Network
T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, Co-founder .05 Saves Lives Coalition, Former Vice Chair, National Transportation Safety Board
Megan and Campbell Aurelius (League City, TX)
Megan is the mother of sweet Lily Kate Guerra who died at only 5-months-old in a hot car in 2013 when her father left her in his personal truck all day while he worked.
Raelyn Balfour (Earlysville, VA)
I am the mother of Bryce Balfour who was 9-months-old when I unknowingly left him in my vehicle and went to work. I received an emergent phone call from work on my way to drop him off at daycare and lost awareness that he was with me. I made a promise to my son that day that I would do everything in my power to make sure this never happens to another child.
Lisa and Shannon Berry (Huntsville, AL)
Parents of Lexi who died at 2-years-old in August, 2018. After a change in their daycare drop-off routine, Lexi’s loving father unknowingly left Lexi in his car all day while he worked. Despite their safety plan of putting the diaper bag in the front seat every day, Lexi was still left behind as the diaper bag was placed in the back seat for the first and only time that day.
Pamela Biddle, Board Member, CRASH & Truck Safety Coalition (Georgia)
In 2017, Pamela’s 23-year-old son, Aaron Lee, his father, Brian Lee, and Brian’s partner, Stephanie Swaim, were killed when they were stopped in interstate highway traffic caused by a semi with a wheel fire and hit from behind by another semi which failed to slow. The semi driver also perished.
Deona Bien, (Tucson, AZ)
Mother of Aslyn Ryan, age 1, inadvertently left in a hot car by her sitter in Honolulu HI, 2004.
Delyla and Clay Blackburn (Shreveport, LA)
Parents of 6-month-old Addyson who died after her father’s routine was disrupted with a dentist appointment. Clay was supposed to take Addyson from her mother’s work to daycare, but he missed the daycare stop and went to work all day. After work, he went into the daycare to pick her up only to realize that she had never been dropped off.
Brittany Borgess (Williamsport, PA)
Stepmother of Samaria Motyka, 4, who died inside my car after I unknowingly left her there. I dropped off two of our other children at their daycare facilities and missed the third drop off. I didn’t know she never made it to daycare until I found her in my car after work. She got out of her car seat but wasn’t able to get out of the car.
Kyle and Beth Brown (Chandler, AZ)
Parents of Amberlee who died only 3-months-old after her loving, attentive father unknowingly left her in his car.
Dr. Norman L. Collins, Sr. (Raleigh, NC)
Norman Collins II (Jackson, MS)
Family of Norman Collins III, affectionately known as Bishop, who died in a hot car. His death was the result of a miscommunication between his father and a fellow church member about who was getting 3-month-old Bishop out of the car and into church.
Todd & Melody Costello (Medina, OH)
Parents of Tyler who died at 9-months-old in a hot car. Todd didn’t normally take Tyler to daycare and was out of his normal routine when he missed daycare drop-off and went to work all day in July 2002.
Donna Counts (Tupelo, MS)
I am the mother of Daniel Hamrick who died at only 8-months-old in a hot car in 2003 after his father dropped the oldest child off at daycare and unknowingly left Daniel in the car all day.
Roy Crawford (Kentucky)
Roy’s son, Guy Champ Crawford, was killed in 1994 by an overloaded coal truck that had poor conspicuity and no underride guards. Roy is a retired forensic engineer who has reconstructed many fatal truck crashes.
Karey Ann Dawidowicz (Denton, MD)
Exhausted, nurse who went into the grocery store forgetting her 3-month-old child was in the rear-facing car seat in the back seat. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I ran out of the store and ran to my car. She was OK but the fact remains that it can happen to anybody, even loving caring parents. It happened to me.
Catherine DeSalvo (New Jersey)
Catherine’s husband, Jim, was killed while riding his bike in 2019, when the tire flew off of an overweight, unmaintained dump truck and hit him.
Dr. Andrew and Jamie Dill (Evansville, IN)
Parents of Oliver “Ollie” Dill, 3, who died in a hot car on July 9, 2019 – two years ago today. Dr. Dill tragically missed daycare drop off and went to work where he is a professor at University of Southern Indiana.
Yan Du and Sheng Li (San Antonio, TX)
Yan and Sheng are the parents of Claire who died at only 11-months-old in a hot car in 2017 after her loving father unknowingly left her in his car all day while he worked.
Amie Duemer (Lubbock, TX)
I am the loving mother of Josef who died at only 1-year-old in a hot car in 2005. I unknowingly left him in my car all day while at work.
Stephanie Duncan, Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition (Michigan)
Stephanie’s parents were killed while waiting in stalled highway traffic when struck from behind by an asphalt tanker truck whose driver is suspected to have fallen asleep and cannot recall what happened.
Jodie Edwards, PhD (Liberty Township, OH)
Dr. Edwards unknowingly left her 11-month-old daughter, Jenna, in a hot car in 2008. They had recently changed their daycare drop off routine from one drop off to two different drop offs.
Nicole Engler, RN and Pete Engler (Roseburg, OR)
Parents of Remi who died in a hot car. Remi’s father normally took Remi to daycare, but on the day she died her mother decided to take her. She had been sick and nobody had been sleeping well. Nicole missed the daycare drop-off and discovered Remi still in her car at the end of her workday.
Delores Estis (Longview, TX)
I am the mother of Christian LaCombe who died in a hot car after his wonderful grandmother unknowingly left him in her car.
Gage Evans (Colorado)
In 2019, Gage’s husband, Bill Bailey, was killed when a truck driver hauling a load of lumber was descending from the mountains on an interstate at a very high speed and crashed into the rear of slowing traffic in Lakewood, Colorado, killing 4 people and injuring many others
Dalyce Franz (Las Vegas, NV)
Mother of Seth Franz, 4, who was inadvertently forgotten in a car during August of 2015 after going out for the day with family.
Michelle and Jason Fraser (Texas)
Michelle and Jason are the parents of Jayden Faith Fraser, who was severely and permanently disabled when, during their return trip from feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving 2016, their vehicle was rear-ended. The crash caused Jason, who was driving, to be thrust backwards over his seat which despite complying with current safety standards collapsed resulting in a skull to skull with his 12-year-old daughter. The existing safety standard for the seatback that resulted in Jay-Fay’s traumatic brain injury was written in 1967.
Laura and Richard Fredricks (New Jersey)
Laura and Richard’s daughter, Emily, was killed while riding her bicycle to work in 2017 when a sanitation truck turned in front of her.
Angela Freedman (Norman, OK)
A distracted driver hit my mom and she did not survive the crash.
Tami Friedrich Trakh, Board Member, CRASH & Truck Safety Coalition. (California)
Tami’s sister, Kris, brother-in-law, Alan, and two of their children, Brandie and Anthony, were killed in 1989 when a tanker truck overturned in front of them and exploded.
Kristi, Floyd, and Brandi Garrigues (Washington)
Kelsie and Savannah, from the 2015 Watts crash below, were Kristi and Floyd Garrigues’ granddaughters and Brandy’s nieces. They lost both of them that terrible day.
Vanessa and Michael Goolsby (Hialeah, FL)
Parents of Micayla Goolsby who died at 11-months-old in a hot car in 2016 after her loving father unknowingly left her in the car.
Joy Green (Baton Rouge, LA)
Mother of Angel Green who was left in a hot van at daycare and died.
Anna Guardipee (Virginia)
Anna and her dear friend, Jennifer Burton, were slowed in construction traffic in 2019 when a semi failed to stop and rear ended their vehicle, pushing them into another semi. Anna was paralyzed and Jennifer was killed.
Latasha Hairston Springs (Winston Salem, NC)
I crashed into another vehicle carrying two people, I injured them and myself. I was texting my daughter about her cellphone bill on the highway doing 70 mph. I’m grateful that no one died. Now I’m in this fight for what’s right. To keep our nation safe from distracted driver’s. I learned a very valuable lesson. And I would like for others to learn from my mistakes.
Robin Hammett Gigger (Saint Leonard, Md)
Robin is the Mamaw of Lee who died at only 1 year-23 days old after his loving foster mother unknowingly left him in the car all day while she was working. Our hearts are forever broken.
Cierra & Brian Harting (Saint Mary’s, OH)
Parents of Cici who died in a hot car just over 1 month ago after a miscommunication between us about who got her out of the car.
Nikki Hensley Weingartner, Board Member, P.A.T.T. & Truck Safety Coalition. (Hawaii)
Nikki’s husband, Virgil Hensley, was killed in 1997 when a truck driver ran a stop sign at an intersection, killing him instantly.
Erin Holley (Charleston, SC)
Erin and her husband unknowingly left their 5-week-old son Finn in a parked car, thinking he was with them and their daughter on a trip to the park. Finn survived, but the family has since known two infants who were accidentally left and died in hot cars in SC in separate incidents.
Emily Hossann (Sparrowbush, NY)
Mother of Logan Hossann who was accidentally left behind in the car for 40 mins. Thankfully no tragic injuries occurred but it could have easily ended up with a much different ending.
Sam and Raychele Jackson (Roanoke, VA)
Devoted and loving parents of River who died 4 months shy of her 3rd birthday after she quietly snuck out of the house and went outside to explore during her nap time. She was found dead inside the family van as River was able to easily get herself in, but she was unable to get herself out.
Erin Johnson (Salisbury, NC)
My beautiful daughter Bridget died at only 2-years-old after being inadvertently left in her car seat inside my car. Her father had taken her to daycare the previous two days and I went to work thinking she was safely at her daycare facility.
Scott and Angela Jones (Gilbert, AZ)
We are the parents of 3-year-old Charly, who died in a hot car in 2019 after her loving father unknowingly left her in his car while he worked. She was only 20 feet away from him in our driveway, while he worked from home and had no idea she hadn’t been dropped off at daycare.
Eileen Kosc (Delaware)
Eileen was driving home from the beach in slow traffic in 2013 with her sons, Brandon and Bryan, when she was struck from behind by an inattentive box truck driver who failed to slow down. The truck continued on to hit four other vehicles before coming to a stop. Eileen and Brandon were taken to the hospital with injuries. Bryan, who was seven years old, did not survive.
Zhong and Perla Li (Pomona, CA)
Parents of Kiara who died at 3 ½ years old in a hot car in 2015. Tragically, his occurred after the family had a busy morning celebrating Father’s Day and was the result of a miscommunication about who got her out of the car.
Larry and Patty Liberatore (Maryland)
Larry and Patty Liberatore’s son, Nick, was killed in 1997 by a fatigued truck driver who drove his semi over their son’s vehicle.
Conni Lowe (Lexington, KY)
I am the grandmother of Holland “Holly” Gaines Judy, 5 months, who died after she was left in her mother’s car in the driveway after her mother went to pay a bill. She was in the car for over an hour when her mother realized the baby was with her, but it was too late.
Alan and Carla Lyon (Dolgeville, NY)
Our beautiful daughter Sophia Lea Marie died when she was 15-months-old inside my car. I had dropped off our older children at two different locations and thought I had dropped Sophia off at her childcare location. I returned home, got ready for work and left in a different car, not realizing she was still in the other vehicle.
Marta Magellan and James Gersing (Miami, FL)
Grandmother of 1-year-old Sammy Schnall, who died in a hot car when she thought her husband was getting the baby out, while he thought she had brought him into his room to nap.
Jessica and Justin Marson (Manteca, CA)
We are the parents of SaraCorinne Marson who survived being left in a hot car but suffered severe brain damage. SaraCorinne requires around the clock care due to her debilitating injuries.
Jane Mathis, Vice President, Truck Safety Coalition & Board Member, P.A.T.T. (Florida)
Jane’s 23-year-old son, David, and his bride, Mary Kathryn, were killed while on their way home from their honeymoon in 2004 when they were stopped in traffic and hit from behind by a semi whose driver fell asleep at the wheel. The car became wedged under the truck, then exploded.
Reginald and Julia McKinnon (Cape Coral, Fl)
We are the parents of Payton Lyn who died at only 17-months-old in a hot car in 2010 after her loving father unknowingly left her in his vehicle all day while he worked.
Emani Lawrence (San Diego, CA)
My grandmother was killed by a distracted driver talking his cell phone.
Nancy Meuleners (Minnesota)
Nancy was severely injured in 1989 when her vehicle slid under the back of a semi stopped in traffic without emergency flashers illuminated. She has had over 40 surgeries to reconstruct her face and mouth and expects there will be more.
Stephanie and Corey Mitchell (St. Louis, MO)
Stephanie and Corey are the parents of Tate who died 3 days after his first birthday in a hot car in 2017 after his loving mother unknowingly left him in her car all day while she worked.
Catriona and Brad Moe (Kansas)
Brad was walking with his 3-year-old daughter, Isla, when they accepted a package from a delivery truck driver who was backed into the end of the driveway. They continued up their driveway when the driver backed up, killing Isla.
Rachel Morris (Locust Grove, GA)
Mother of 6-month-old Savannah who she unknowingly left in her car while taking her 5 girls to the park to play after church. Thankfully, Savannah suffered no injuries, but her mother will never forget that day and what could have been.
Jody Newcomb (Henderson, NV)
Mother of Michael, 5, who was playing an innocent game of hide and seek and chose my car as his hiding place. Unfortunately, after four days on life-support we had to make that horrible choice but no parent should ever make.
Dorine E. and Thomas S. Norko, Kaiya Manlapit-Norko (Connecticut)
In 2018, in Idaho, Dorine’s son, Kaiya’s brother, Senior Airman Lawrence P. Manlapit III, was killed along with two of his fellow airmen, Carlos Johnson and Karlie Westall, when the Jeep they were riding in was stopped in traffic in a construction zone and rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. The Jeep and truck were engulfed in flames. The semi driver, who had a poor record, was going 62 mph before impact, and was also killed.
Marija and Tiana Ozolins, Mary Bakken (Virginia)
On October 2, 2019, Mary’s husband, Marija and Tiana’s father, Peter Ozolins, was slowing in traffic when a tractor trailer failed to respond and hit the line of traffic. Peter and one other person were killed.
Purushottam and Mina K P Panthee (New York)
In 2020, Purushottam and Mina’s 10-year-old son, Shree, was killed, and Mina has serious, life-threatening injuries, from a collision in a school cross walk with a Queens, NY, sanitation truck. In Purushottam’s words: “It is not just the physical wounds but she (Mina), along with our whole family, is suffering from mental pain. We are a victim’s family and want to request the U.S. government to impose more regulations for truck safety and pedestrian rights to save lives.”
Dawn and Wes Peabody (Phoenix, AZ)
We are the parents of Maya Peabody who died after her father inadvertently left her in the car during a change in routine.
Patti Perutelli-Wooldridge (Rustburg, VA)
My husband, Frank was killed by a distracted/texting driver in Virginia.
Ashley Phillips (Kaufman, TX)
Mother of Charleigh who I unknowingly left in my car when she was 3-months-old. I am so grateful that my daughter survived because so many do not.
Stephanie Pinon (Albuquerque, NM)
Mother of Jahzel Pinon, 2, who died in her mother’s van. Jahzel’s father strapped her into her car seat behind the driver’s seat before an appointment. Her mother thought she was at home with her father and unknowingly left her in her van for several hours.
Maria-Theresia and Brian Pio (Phoenix, AZ)
Drake Pio was left unknowingly by his loving mother in a hot car at 14 months old in 2014. By the grace of god, he survived however the entire family of 6 were severely traumatized by this preventable accident.
Raymond and Dikeisha Pryer (Houston, TX)
Raymond and Dikeisha are the parents of Raymond, Jr. who died at only 3-years-old in 2018 after being left in a hot daycare van after returning from a field trip to the local park on one of the hottest days in July that year.
Kristi and Ben Reavis (Texas)
Kristi and Ben are the parents of Emily and Owen, who at the ages of 5 and 3, both suffered fractured skulls and severe traumatic brain injuries when their vehicle was rear ended in 2016. The front seats collapsed causing both of their parents to be thrust under their seatbelts and into their children sitting in car seats in the back. The existing safety standard for the seatback in the Reavis’s vehicle was written in 1967.
Douglas and Cathy Richeson (Canton, Michigan)
Our family lost our son: Captain Nathan Douglas Richeson on 8-29-2014 to a distracted driver. Devoted son, brother, uncle, husband as well as a dedicated pilot with the 121 Rickenbacker Ohio National Guard.
Juan & Marissa Rodriguez (New City, NY)
Juan and Marissa are the parents of twin babies: Luna and Phoenix who died at only 1-year-old in a hot car in 2019 after their loving father unknowingly left them in his car all day while he worked. Juan is a U.S. combat veteran and currently serves in the New York Army National Guard.
Stephanie Salvilla (Orlando, FL)
Mother of Gannon Werking who died on his 5th month birthday in a hot car in 2009 after his loving mother unknowingly left him in her car all day while she worked. Stephanie had a safety routine of placing the bottles in her front seat as a reminder, but on that day the bottles weren’t in the front seat.
Tania San Miguel-Bounds (Ollala, WA)
Tania is the parent of Miah Isabel who died at only 20 months-old in a hot car in 1999 after I unknowingly left her in my car. I thought she was in daycare. Miah was in my car for one hour in the Texas heat before I realized she hadn’t been dropped off.
Claire and Theodore Schwab (Virginia)
Claire and Theodore are the parents of Teddy, who on Easter weekend 2016 was nearly killed at age 10 when the vehicle he was in was hit in a rear end collision. The seatback collapse caused the front seat passenger to collide with Teddy fracturing his skull, leaving him with traumatic brain injuries, and in a coma for a month. The existing safety standard for the seatback in the vehicle Teddy was in was written in 1967.
Lindsey Rogers-Seitz and Kyle Seitz (Morrisville, NC)
Parents of Benjamin Seitz who died in a hot car when he was 15-months-old after his loving, devoted father missed the turn to daycare and unknowingly left him in his rear-facing car seat while he was at work all day. This week marked the 7-year anniversary of Benjamin’s death.
Sue Boe Shea – (Land O Lakes, FL)
Grandmother of 5-month-old Kate Lola Boe who died in the back seat of an overheated vehicle on June 28, 2006. No charges were filed. This was neither a case of abuse nor negligence, but tragically happened as a result of unusual circumstances.
Loren E. Sindt (Panama City, FL)
Mother of Joziah who died at only 16-months-old in a hot car. Loren had buckled him into his father’s car before they drove to their uncle’s home where he was unknowingly left behind by his father. Loren discovered Joziah still in the car when she arrived a short time later.
Ed Slattery (Maryland)
Ed’s wife, Susan, was killed, and his sons, Peter and Matthew, were severely injured in 2010 when they were rear-ended by a truck driver who fell asleep. Lifetime costs for Matthew’s care alone are estimated to be $35 – $45 million. Ed’s journey since the crash has been documented in the book, The Long Blink, the true story of trauma, forgiveness, and one man’s fight for safer roads, by award-winning Baltimore reporter and author, Brian Kuebler.
Amanda Sorohan (Rutledge, GA)
My son, Caleb was killed in a texting and driving wreck in 2009 when he was 18 years old.
Mike and Jenny Stanley (Evans, GA)
Parents of Sydney who died at the age of 6 in a hot car in 2010 after entering the family car on her own. Sydney died in a GM vehicle that would have had occupant detection technology if GM had followed through with their promise to add it to their vehicles by 2004. It’s 2021 and they still haven’t done it. We NEED a safety standard for this technology.
Brenda Stotts-Young (Kentucky)
Brenda and Chuck are parents of Detective Deidre Mengedoht, who was killed as a first responder in December 2018 when a semi-truck hit her cruiser which was stopped on the side of I-64, sending her into the pickup truck she had pulled over due to traffic violations. Her cruiser burst into flames and Detective Mengedoht was killed.
Eric and Michelle Stuyvesant (Garland, TX)
Parents of Michael Stuyvesant, who suffered multiple strokes and brain injury after being unknowingly left in his father’s car for an extended period of time on June 10, 2015. A change in a daily routine nearly cost Michael his life.
Billy Taylor (Jesup, GA)
Billy is the grandfather of Jaxon who died at 11 months old in September of 2015 after his other grandparents forgot to get him out of the car when they returned home from church.
Michele and Mikey Terry (Maypearl, TX)
Parents of Mika Terry who was tragically forgotten in a hot car by her loving father who was out of his routine and became distracted by a phone call in 2005.
Jennifer M. Tierney, Board Member, CRASH & Truck Safety Coalition. (North Carolina)
Jennifer’s father, James Mooney, was killed on a dark, rural road in 1983 when he crashed into a truck with no visible lights blocking the roadway.
Nina Todd (Shenandoah, IA)
November 28, 2010 – a girl that was speeding, passing on a hill, and texting while driving hit me head on and I lost my sons, Maliki age 5 and Alex age 4. I was also severely injured in the crash.
Paula Tolliver (Ohio)
On December 7, 2018, Paula’s granddaughter, Teresa Howell, was working on U.S. 33 replacing a guardrail when a semi driver veered off the road. Teresa was hit and killed. The driver did not stop, and when he was found, he stated he did not realize he had hit anything. The driver of this semi had killed another person in a similar crash less than six months prior. Teresa left behind two sons, ages five and six.
Liz and Andrew Warner (Colorado)
Liz and Andrew are the parents of Taylor Grace Warner, who was killed in 2010 at 17 months old when their vehicle was rear-ended causing the front seat, which complied with current safety standards, to collapse backwards crushing Taylor despite her being properly restrained in a child seat. The existing safety standard for the seatback that crushed and killed Taylor was written in 1967.
Rick Watts (Virginia)
In 2015, Rick’s wife, Tiffany, his stepdaughters, Kelsie and Savannah, and Sandra Anderson, Tiffany’s mother, were stopped near Chattanooga, TN, in traffic due to construction, when a tractor trailer collided with eight vehicles. Six people, including Rick’s entire family, were killed, and another six people were injured. The NTSB investigated this horrific crash.
Allison Werner (Shiner, TX)
I inadvertently left my 2-year-old in my car for 30 minutes in July while visiting family in Ocean Springs, MS.
Kristin Whitaker (Palm Harbor, FL)
In 2016, Kristin’s son Lawson – just 22 months old – passed away in a vehicle after his loving father dropped his older sister off at kindergarten (a new routine) and then believed he had dropped him off at daycare. He studied all day for a first responder exam believing Lawson was at his daycare being taken care of. More than 40 children passed away that year in similar circumstances.
Linda Wilburn, Board Member, P.A.T.T. & Truck Safety Coalition. (Oklahoma)
Linda and Gary Wilburn’s son, Orbie, was killed in 2002 when a tired truck driver slammed into his car.
Kristina Wilcoxson (Norman, OK)
Mother of a now 13-year-old who survived when he was unknowingly left in her car as a baby.
Franklin Wood (Virginia)
Franklin’s daughter, Dana, and her friend were killed in 2002 when a truck driver, driving on a suspended license, struck Dana’s car, pushing it 1,500 feet down the highway.
Pamela Sue Woods (Middleville, MI)
My grandson was paralyzed by a texting, red light runner.
cc: The Honorable Tom Carper, Chair, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
The Honorable Maria Cantwell, Chair, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation