Should bystanders be allowed to smash window to remove child from hot car?

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ST. GEORGE — In a bid to encourage people to rescue potentially imperiled children, a proposed bill planned for the 2018 Utah Legislative session addresses civil immunity for Utahns who use force to remove a confined child from a motor vehicle.

With the number of incidents increasing in which children are left in cars, the proposed legislation would allow Utahns in limited cases – and without fear of civil liability – to smash car windows to rescue children from vehicles that are too hot or too cold.

The bill, entitled “Good Samaritan Law Amendments” and designated as HB 152 in the 2018 session, proposes to remove civil liability for someone who smashes out a window or otherwise forces their way into a vehicle if they do so in good faith and are not grossly negligent or responsible for causing the emergency.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tim Quinn, R-Heber City, outlines procedures that would-be rescuers must follow to receive immunity, including all the following:

  • The person has a good faith belief that the confined child is in imminent danger of suffering physical injury or death unless the confined child is removed from the vehicle.
  • The person determines that the motor vehicle is locked and there is no reasonable manner in which they can remove the confined child from the vehicle.
  • Before entering the vehicle, the person notifies a first responder of the confined child.
  • The person does not use more force than is necessary under the circumstances to enter the vehicle and remove the confined child from the vehicle.
  • The person remains with the child until a first responder arrives at the vehicle.

If the person fails to abide by any of the above provisions or commits any unnecessary or malicious damage to the vehicle, the person would not be immune from civil liability under the proposed bill.

The bill does not address civil immunity for citizens who rescue pets or animals left in vehicles.


Read more: See all St. George News reports on Utah Legislature 2018 issues

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Not_So_Much January 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Of course.

  • Utahguns January 25, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    A sensible bill. If just one life is saved, its definitely worth it.

  • DRT January 25, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Of course they should! And whoever left the child in the car should be criminally prosecuted. This should not be a crime of intent, the facts of the kid being left in the car should be prima facie evidence for a criminal conviction.
    This BS that occurred in Hurricane a few years ago was a total travesty.
    I speak from the point of view as a first responder, (cop) that has seen first hand what a kid looks like who has died from heat stroke.

  • high5 January 26, 2018 at 6:36 am

    I’ve called in before, was very disappointed when dispatch said to wait for police- she wanted me to look thru the glass n see if I could see the children breathing! They were passed out! I won’t call in next time and I will take action. Then call in?

  • hiker75 January 26, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I agree with the bill. But let’s add animals to the bill for idiots who leave them in cars. Why leave out animals!

    • vintagehippie January 27, 2018 at 9:58 am

      I certainly agree about the same protections for an animal. And I suspect that the same people who would leave a pet in a closed car would do the same to a child………

  • HerePliggyWiggy January 26, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Doesn’t matter if it’s allowed or not I’m still doing it. Same for a pet.

  • JOSH DALTON January 26, 2018 at 8:41 am

    This should not even be a topic of discussion. If I see a kid in a car I will break the window. “Allowed” or not. I will pay for the window then sue the parents in civil court for the time and effort. Not to mention comb my hair for my bookings picture after I have finished beating the brakes off Mom and Dad! GO FALCONS!

  • comments January 26, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    i’d smash it. if they wanna take me to court later for the damage to the car…. oh well.

  • Ariana January 29, 2018 at 1:35 am

    The same bill for animals was my first thought! Hate it when people forget about their precious innocent lives!

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