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Parents whose children have been injured or killed in power windows accidents should click here to contact a Lieff Cabraser lawyer. Alternatively, you may call Lieff Cabraser partner Kathryn Barnett toll-free at 1-866-313-1973.
Power Window Dangers
- Issue: Dangerous auto components
Dangerous Power Windows in American Cars, Pickup Trucks and SUVs
Cars produced by American manufacturers and sold in the United States generally do not have safety features that cause the window to retract (like elevator doors) when they encounter an obstruction.
In European cars, and many cars made in America and exported to Europe, such safety devices are standard equipment. As a result, children die needlessly each year in the United States by having their heads and necks caught in power windows and suffocating.
How Car Power Window Accidents Occur
Over the last couple of decades, 58 deaths and hundreds of injuries have occurred in the United States because of power windows. A study by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis estimated that 500 people annually are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to power windows. In 2004 alone, there have been reports of 7 children who have died from electric car windows.
Lieff Cabraser partner Kathryn E. Barnett has written an article on the dangers of these kinds of injuries. Click here to read a copy of Ms. Barnett's "Power Windows Can Kill" from Trial magazine.
The Window Problem Explained and Safer Alternatives
Most European cars have an auto-reverse mechanism in their power windows that engages if the window hits an object as it is closes. American vehicles, however, are not equipped with such devices. Electric windows can rise with much greater force than is commonly understood.
Furthermore, federal standards allow rocker and toggle switches for power windows. A rocker switch moves the window upward when you press one end of the switch, and down when you press on the other end. A toggle switch works when pushed forward and pulled back. Both can be inadvertently activated by a child.
Safety advocates maintain that pull-up, push-down switches, also called lever switches, which must be lifted up to raise the window, are safer. Children are less likely to unintentionally activate lever switches when their head is in the window. Safety advocates have sought the replacement of rocker or toggle power window switches with pull-up, push down window switches on all vehicles.
General Motors and DaimlerChrysler are now phasing in lever switches. Many Japanese and European vehicles sold in the United States have for years offered lever switches.
Advocacy Efforts to Halt Child Deaths from Power Windows
Concerned about the number of deaths and accidents, Kids and Cars, the Center for Auto Safety and the Consumer Federation of America have petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require automakers to provide safer electric window switches.
Until all auto manufacturers agree to make safety improvements to new vehicles and ones on the road, it is only through the filing of lawsuits by the families of victims that change will occur.
Contact Lieff Cabraser
Parents whose children have been injured or killed in power windows accidents should click here to contact a Lieff Cabraser lawyer. Alternatively, you may call Lieff Cabraser partner Kathryn E. Barnett toll-free at 1-866-313-1973.