Injuries from Power Windows Underestimated According to Child Safety Group

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is being warned by a children's safety group about the dangers to children posed by power windows. This group is asking the agency to make some changes, which includes preventing these injuries by including a reverse feature in power windows. president Janette Fennell wants the NHTSA to require automakers to include this feature, so that in the event any obstruction is caught in the window, it will automatically stop. This is according to the New York Times.

According to the NHTSA, 6 deaths are caused by power window accidents each year, and about 1995 injuries. The administration feels that the rules that are currently in place are sufficient, because most of these injuries are minor. This information was taken based on statistics from police and medical records, which includes surveys done with emergency rooms. However, a survey done by resulted in dramatically different statistics.
>The organization conducted an internet survey and a phone survey that questioned participants about whether they had ever caused injuries to someone by closing a power window. In the telephone and internet surveys, 5% and 6% respectively admitted to having caused an injury with a power window. When you take the 227 million adult population, this survey shows that injuries from power windows stand at approximately 13.6 million according to Miss Fennell.

The survey, according to Miss Fennell, reveals that numerous injury cases are being overlooked by the NHTSA. Admittedly, it is difficult to collect this information because of the various ways that causes and deaths are reported. In some instances, injuries caused by power windows are never reported because those injured visit their family doctor, and do not go to the emergency room. The NHTSA does not deny this claim, and admits that some information may be missed because of reporting procedures. The wide gap between NHTSA statistics and the survey does have California product liability lawyers concerned.

The NHTSA has taken some action on this matter, which includes requiring automakers to change up power window switches a bit. As of October 1st, 2008 all switches are required to be recessed, which makes it more difficult for children to close a window accidentally by leaning on a switch that is protruding, as some had been previously. Additionally, automakers must now include power windows that can only be closed by pulling up on the switch. The NHTSA has concluded that these changes will lessen fatalities caused by power windows by 50 to 70 percent, and that the auto reverse features are not needed for all power windows.