NHTSA proposes rule on power-window entrapment

  • 03-Sep-2009 03:01 EDT

Though largely solved through recent rulemakings related to switch design, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is proposing to add another layer of protection regarding entrapment and pinching dangers posed by power windows. In a proposed rule published in the Federal Register Sept. 1 and applying to light passenger vehicles, the agency proposes to require auto-reverse capability only for windows that have an express-up function. Auto-reverse is a system in which a window automatically rolls down when an obstruction is detected during roll-up. NHTSA notes that, to the best of its knowledge, all vehicles sold to date in the U.S. have an auto-reverse function, though the systems now in use may not comply with the specific requirements of the proposed rule. The rule would not apply to sunroofs/moonroofs. NHTSA's most recent final rulemaking on power window safety requires switches to be pulled up rather than pushed down for window roll-up, the idea being that the most common cause of severe accidents involves children accidentally pushing down on a switch with a knee or other body part and being trapped, and possibly strangulated, in the closing window. That requirement currently is being phased in and comes into full effect on Oct. 1, 2010. Comments on the proposed auto-reverse rule are due to NHTSA by Nov. 29, 2009.

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