Power Windows Pose Risk of Child Injury

KidsAndCars.org, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing child injuries in and around vehicles, recently published research data that contests estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and exposes the child safety risk posed by power windows on vehicles. The research shows injuries to occupants in vehicles equipped with power windows to number in the tens of millions; this is in sharp contrast to the NHTSA estimates of less than 2,000.

According to the press release from KidsAndCars.org, NHTSA concluded that safety technology such as auto-reversing systems (ARS) does not need to be mandated because so few people are injured by power windows. KidsAndCars.org is urging the NHTSA to reexamine its data and mandate ARS technology for all vehicles sold in the U.S.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D – IL, has said, “Without question, vehicle safety for the citizens of this country is one of our main responsibilities. As far as the dangerous potential of power windows is concerned, automakers have existing technology to prevent millions of injuries and deaths, and we should require them to utilize this preventive technology to save lives.”

The new research, commissioned by KidsAndCars.org, was conducted via telephone and online surveys and administered by the research firm Harris Interactive in October 2009.

Results of the research indicated the following:

More than 13 million U.S. adults have injured someone they know by closing a car window.

Over 22 million U.S. adults have been personally injured or know someone who has been personally injured by someone else closing a car window.

Over 10 million U.S. adults have been personally injured by someone else closing a car window but did not seek medical care, thus they were not included in any government data collection efforts.

ARS technology reverses a window when an obstruction is detected, thus preventing passengers from being injured by the force of power windows. The NHTSA estimated 1,943 injuries and six deaths annually due to power windows. The KidsAndCars.org data suggests that a significantly larger number of people are injured by power windows each year.

“We’ve known for a long time that millions of people are injured by power windows. When you bring up the topic, everyone has a story about an incident they are familiar with,” said Janette Fennell, KidsAndCars.org founder and president. “And even though the NHTSA believes mandated ‘pull-up’ switches will rectify this issue by eliminating injuries caused by inadvertent activation of the window, our data proves that it is someone else in the vehicle that causes the majority of the injuries. Common sense, life-saving technology exists and can be easily implemented, as it has been on garage doors and elevators, to prevent senseless child deaths and injuries.”

ARS technology, which costs about $6 per window, is a simple way to prevent injuries and deaths. The technology is standard on most European vehicles but found in less than half of the vehicles made in the U.S.

If you’ve been seriously injured because of someone’s carelessness or a defective product, contact an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney immediately. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.