July is the month many new laws go into effect. And in Kansas, one of those is designed to help you save someone’s life.
The Good Samaritan law provides protection to you and I if we see a person or a pet locked in a hot car and we do something to help them. And Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves says if it’s used properly, it’ll only benefit the state.
“I think it’s common sense. I think it’s common sense legislation,” says Sheriff David Groves.
Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves says his deputies don’t get a lot of calls about people or pets locked in hot cars….
“From time to time we will get a call, mainly regarding a dog,” says Sheriff Groves.
But in those cases, time is critical.
“Organs start to deteriorate at 104 degrees, death can start occurring at 107 degrees, and so seconds matter,” says Groves.
In the past, the only legal option someone seeing a person or a pet locked in a hot car in Kansas had was to call 911. But now, there’s the Good Samaritan law.
“This allows that person, acting in good faith, to take immediate action to save those lives,” says Groves.
The bill was passed through the Kansas legislature earlier this year, and signed into law by Governor Jeff Colyer. And Senator Richard Hilderbrand says it faced relatively little debate along the way.
“Everybody just understands that, hey, if I’m walking by a car and I see someone distressed, and temperatures like today, I’m going to break a window and get them out,” says Senator Richard Hilderbrand.
Sheriff Groves says the law protects someone from liability, as long as they follow a few rules.
“One is they have to check to make sure that the vehicle is not unlocked, they have to call 911, they have to be able to stay there until responders arrive,” says Groves.
And you can’t use any more force or cause any more damage than is necessary. Senator Hilderbrand agrees with Sheriff Groves that the law makes sense, and says all the legislature did was make it easier to follow basic human instinct.
“It’s just human nature to save somebody, so this allows them to do it without fear of being prosecuted or being liable for damage,” says Senator Hilderbrand.
18 other states, including Missouri, have similar laws.