Be Safe Out There – Summer’s Not Over Yet
After months of hot and sunny summer weather, many Coloradans can’t wait for the crisper, cooler fall weather to hurry up and get here already. Fun fact: This year, the temperature in Denver on the first day of summer reached 99 degrees, breaking the previous record high of 97 degrees. Even though it’s only August, it’s clear the collective anticipation of the cooler fall weather is strong. But those of us who are fall enthusiasts will have to wait just a little bit longer. There’s still another month’s worth (or longer) of summer heat to be endured before the leaves begin to change color.
With record numbers of tourists visiting Colorado’s national parks over the summer—and more expected to come during the autumn months—Colorado natives can usually spot an out-of-stater or “flatlander” with ease. Visitors unfamiliar with the Colorado terrain and extreme summer temperature fluctuations are likely to be unprepared and underestimate the conditions of their surroundings. The sweltering heat has proved dangerous, and even fatal for many children and pets left inside parked cars by their parents or owners. The increase in reported cases of this kind of neglect and abuse have influenced some Colorado lawmakers to take action to legalize citizen intervention (provided they follow proper protocol).
A new “good Samaritan” law will go into effect in Colorado on August 9, 2017 granting legal immunity to citizens who break and enter a hot car to save a child or a pet. But in order to be excused from criminal mischief, trespassing, or tampering, someone attempting to save an animal or child must first have reasonable belief that the pet or person in the car is in imminent danger of death or suffering seriously bodily harm. Then, they have to make every reasonable effort to contact the owner and law enforcement before breaking in.
In Denver, it’s a crime to leave an animal in dangerous conditions, punishable by a $999 fine or up to a year in jail. Colorado temperatures have been scorching this year, and August weather shows no signs of letting up. Because of this, August is one of the top three most dangerous months of the year to leave a child or a pet unattended.
With the increase in road trips and outdoor activities, more and more people are bringing their dogs with them on the road. People who leave their pets unattended in the heat do not really understand how quickly the temperature inside a parked car with the A/C off can rise to dangerous levels. According to the National Weather Service, on a 90-degree day the temperature inside a car can rise to 100 degrees within five minutes if the windows are cracked, and 110 degrees if they’re not. Within 15 minutes, a car with windows cracked can exceed 110 degrees—or 120 degrees with the windows rolled up.
This information is meant to keep you informed so you and everyone else can enjoy the rest of the summer safely. Use common sense and be smart. Put sunscreen on. Wear sunglasses and a hat. Stay hydrated. And do not leave children or pets unattended in a parked car in the heat, even if the windows are rolled down and even if you are running a quick errand. A lot can happen in a few minutes while you’re away from the car.
For a personal injury sustained as a result of negligence, abuse, or other reasons, the lawyers at Bachus & Schanker, LLC can be a valuable source of legal advice and litigation services. With 20 years of experience serving the state of Colorado, they are experts in matters of personal injury law. Finding the right legal team to represent you has never been easier.
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