Idaho lawmakers draft Good Samaritan bill aimed to prevent hot car deaths

Posted at 2:51 PM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 19:13:34-04

Two eastern Idaho lawmakers are co-sponsoring a bill to be introduced during the 2018 legislative session aimed at protecting Good Samaritans when helping a child stuck in a hot car. 

Currently, Idaho law contains no legal protection for citizens who break a window or otherwise damage a car to get a child out. 

Rep.Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, and Sen. Mark Nye, D-Pocatello, have agreed to sponsor the bill.

"I think all of us believe the life of a child is very important," Smith said.

Smith says she was contacted to sponsor the bill by the citizen committee "Keeping Children Safe". The committee meets to provide child safety recommendations to local Health & Welfare districts around the state. 

"Sen. Nye and myself would welcome any legislators that want to be co-sponsors, because this is not a partisan issue," Smith said. "It is something that all of us could unite on." 

Colorado passed legislation that took effect on Aug 9. providing legal immunity to people who break into a hot car to save an animal or person. But, to get immunity, Colorado lawmakers say you have to make a reasonable effort to contact the owner of the vehicle and law enforcement before breaking in. 

As the Idaho bill is only in draft stages, it is unknown at this time whether the bill will provide provisions for Good Samaritans who attempt to help pets trapped in hot cars.