Since 1989, 21 children in Louisiana have died as a result of being left alone in a motor vehicle on a hot day. Already in 2012, five children in the United States have been killed this way, while others have suffered permanent injuries. Louisiana is one of just 18 states with legislation directly addressing leaving unattended children in motor vehicles. Under current law, a driver who leaves a child under the age of six unsupervised in a motor vehicle could face a $500 fine and imprisonment of up to six months. The penalties grow harsher for repeated offenses, but Harrell believes greater consequences from the outset would discourage parents from taking the risk.
“A child who is locked in a car on a hot day is in very grave danger,” Harrell said. “We need the state to send a message to parents and drivers everywhere that leaving children alone in a motor vehicle is absolutely unacceptable, no matter what, where or for how long. Louisiana needs to set an example and keep our children safe this summer and all year round.”
Shirin Harrell is a founding partner and trial attorney with Harrell & Nowak, LLC, where she represents victims as well as businesses that have been hurt because of medical malpractice, car accidents, asbestos exposure, products liability and more. Harrell is a registered nurse in the state of Louisiana, giving her a unique perspective on cases involving complex medical issues. She is a member of the Louisiana State Bar, the New Orleans Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.
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