Deaf community urges lawmakers to pass bill preventing carbon monoxide deaths

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT/WKYT) - Leaders in the Deaf community in Kentucky are urging federal lawmakers to pass a bill to prevent carbon monoxide deaths.

Photo: WKYT

Last month Connie Dotson, a Deaf woman in Lexington, died after she unknowingly left her keyless car running in her garage. Sister station WKYT reports the bill would require technology that might have saved Dotson's life.

The Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing knows of many stories of people accidentally leaving their keyless cars running. Deaf people are especially vulnerable.

"It's happening too often for us to sit quietly," said Anita Dowd, executive staff advisor on the commission. "This is called the PARK IT Act. That's an acronym for 'Protecting Americans from the Risks of Keyless Ignition Technology' Act. Everybody should be able to park it and not have to worry about it."

The bill was introduced earlier this year but stalled in a Senate committee. It requires an automatic shutoff system in cars.

"I hope that we can encourage not just our community, but everyone to contact their congressmen, legislators, and tell them, 'Please act on this. People are dying,'" said Dowd.

Despite the hold-up in the federal government, Toyota already announced the automatic shutoff feature will be in most 2020 models. Ford and GM have a similar feature already.

"Everybody should be able to get home at night, park their car, go in and be with their family, have dinner and go to bed, and wake up tomorrow morning," said Dowd.

The PARK IT Act also requires technology to prevent rollaways.

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