Effective Immediately: Bill protects ‘Good Samaritans’ from liability when saving child from hot car

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Governor Mary Fallin signed a measure that will provide civil immunity for anyone who breaks into a locked vehicle to save a child.

House Bill 1902 states that anyone breaking into a locked vehicle to rescue a child cannot be sued.

The bill goes into effect immediately.

During a typical Oklahoma summer, the temperature inside a hot car can rise more than 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, and the body temperatures of children can increase three to five times faster than adults, medical officials say.

There are still stipulations about when someone can break into a vehicle to save a child.

Under HB 1902, a “Good Samaritan” would be protected from liability if he/she:

  • found the vehicle locked “or there is otherwise no reasonable method for the child to exit” the vehicle;
  • has “a good-faith belief” that forcible entry “is necessary because the child is in imminent danger of suffering harm if not immediately removed” from the vehicle, and, “based upon the circumstances … the belief is a reasonable one”;
  • contacts the local law-enforcement agency, the fire department or the 911 emergency telephone service prior to breaking into the vehicle;
  • leaves a notice on the vehicle’s windshield “with the person’s contact information, the reason entry was made, the location of the child,” and word that authorities have been notified;
  • remains with the child “in a safe location, out of the elements but reasonably close to the motor vehicle,” until the police or sheriff’s department, fire department or some other emergency responder arrives;
  • exercised “no more force … than necessary under the circumstances” to enter the vehicle and remove the child.

 

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