Leaving children in vehicles could become a crime in Missouri

| 1/17/2007

Truckers and others have seen it before. They pull into a store parking lot and while walking to the door notice a youngster, all alone, sitting inside a closed vehicle with the driver nowhere to be seen.

A state lawmaker in Missouri would like to punish people who leave children in vehicles.

Rep. Kevin Threlkeld, R-Washington, has filed a bill that would create the crime of leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle.

A violation of the protection would be committed when a child 10 years old or younger is left unattended in a motor vehicle and the child's health or safety is at risk, the engine is running, or the keys are anywhere in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Violators would face up to 15 days in jail and/or $50 fines.

Missouri law already makes it a crime to leave a child 10 years old or younger unattended in a motor vehicle if the child injures or kills another person by causing a motor vehicle collision or by causing the motor vehicle to injure or kill a pedestrian.

HB113 is awaiting assignment to committee.