Making Car Power Windows Safer In an effort to reduce the 1,943 injuries and six deaths that annually occur from power windows closing on passengers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering rules mandating auto-reverse systems for power windows. Studies estimate that it would cost $6 per window to add such a feature, which seems like a pretty good deal. [Consumer Reports Cars]


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  1. crymson777 says:

    My new car, bought Saturday, and my old car, a 2003 accord, have this feature. The only holdouts on it, to my knowledge, are American car makers….

  2. apd09 says:

    6 dollars per window and 1,000 from the car manufacturer and dealership, this will be their version of the 8,000 toilet seats sold to the government.

  3. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    $6 per window, x 4 windows x 16,000,000 cars sold annually = $384,000,000 a year. To save 6 children.

    I know if it were my kid… but there has to be limits! I’m sure if you spend enough money here or there you can always come up with 1 more life saved, and this is not going to be one of the most cost effective areas!

    Not to mention they have already mandated the switch change. If that saves 3 lives then we are talking about over $120m per child!

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      @AustinTXProgrammer: And who are you to say those 3 kids won’t be CEO’s or inventors or something else that will provide that value exponentially to humanity during their lives?

      In my opinion, recalls should be instituted if there is possible realistic risk of even ONE child’s death, and before it happens, not after.

      I am similarly offended by the manner in which many city planners see risky conditions at an intersection, or see stop or traffic lights are needed, but someone on the committee says “well, when 10 people die there, we’ll allocate the budget for it”.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:


        So, we should be willing to spend any amount of money to save a single child’s life? Well, then, we should also slow down all traffic on all roads to 10mph max – so what if it costs a huge amount of time to get anywhere, it’ll save lives.

        We make tradeoffs every day where we implicitly value human life, because we have to, because resources aren’t infinite.

      • srh says:


        You should think about your statement for a moment. Thousands of children die of drowning every year. From your statement, even one death is too much. Therefore pools should be banned.

        $500M spent on reversible windows is $500M not spent elsewhere. Perhaps not spent on vaccines, to keep children alive. Perhaps not spent on starving children, to keep them alive.

        But I have a better suggestion. Perhaps you should pay extra to get reversible windows on your car, to keep your children safe, and let others decide how best to protect their children.

      • unpolloloco says:

        @Areyouagoodlittleconsumer: So it’s better to save one person for $120 million when we can easily save tens of thousands in the third world for the same cost by providing soap or clean water?

        • That's Consumer007 to you says:

          @unpolloloco: Your analogy is misplaced and laughable at best. It is a false choice, the car company will not buy water and soap for 3rd world countries. This is simply and narrowly a matter of will the car company spend on the safety feature or not, and our discussion is about whether $6 is worth the life of the child or children that will ride in EACH car. I say $6 IS worth trying to save / protect those 1-3 (on average) lives.

          The soap and clean drinking water for indigenous people is handled by others and yes a good idea, but irrelevant to this discussion.

    • shepd says:


      Considering the average hospital stay costs $7,000, and we would save 1,949 patients from the hospital, that’s $13,643,000 in saved healthcare costs.

      Yes, it doesn’t make that huge of a dent in $384,000,000, but it’s still a lot of money.

  4. TouchMyMonkey says:

    So what if you’re trying to thwart a carjacker by rolling up the windows (stuck hand at 70 MPH puts a bad taste in one’s mouth), and the auto-reverse feature kicks in? Would it be possible to turn this feature off, or would you be stuck with it?

    • rickhamilton620 says:

      @HurtsSoGood: On most systems you can simply pull the switch up again to close the window. It doesnt open the window fully again, just enough to let fingers free. Once it bounces back you can just pull up immediately again.

  5. GenXCub says:

    Personally, I think they’d be better off actually adding it at their own cost since it’s so low, and then use it as an advertising method, or a list on standard features. Makes it sound like a more robust and safety-conscious car.

    • Orv says:

      @GenXCub: From a car maker’s perspective, $24 per car ($6 x 4 windows) is an *astronomical* amount of money. They’ll work to save pennies per car, because when you’re building millions of cars that stuff adds up.

  6. The_Red_Monkey says:

    Um, who are these people getting out smarted by the window? And parents? Why are you not using the window lock feature where the driver is the only one able to manipulate the windows?

    As a percentage of autos compared to the people injured is almost nill. It seems like a waste of resources. Drinking Soda probably kills more people. More people drown in their bath tubs.

  7. srh says:

    This is ridiculous. Let’s say 20M cars are sold in the US. At $6 per window, and 4 windows per car (just a guess), that’s $480,000,000.

    To save 6 people. That’s $80M per life saved. How many lives could be saved if that $80M were used more productively?

    And to the “What about the children? Isn’t anyone thinking about the children?” crowd, I wonder about the women whose windows will unroll when an attacker sticks his hands in.

    When I tell my window to roll up, I want it to roll up. This is ridiculous.

  8. thefranchise2 says:

    I’ve figured out the solution to this problem.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      @thefranchise2: plus you can work out the “guns”. well, one gun for a while and then have somebody else drive you around or go to england. unless you’re in england of course, then come here.

  9. Trai_Dep says:

    Great. Now how will I teach my nephews to exit the vehicle quickly?

  10. IamBort says:

    nobody seems to have pointed out this would create enough jobs to save america (well not really), but on a small cost per automobile, if you offered new car purchasers this option for $6, it could save them, their children or family from decapitation of fingers or heads, it is likely most would be willing to pony up the extra money. (Anyone remember $3 to fix gas tanks in pintos?) I can easily spend this much for a meal at mcdonalds, and i’ll be hungry a mere 2 hours later.

  11. baristabrawl says:

    My 1999 Volkswagen Passat had it, but my 2006 GMC Envoy does not. I tested it the other day.

    Also? It doesn’t have automatic up. Just automatic down. It’s the main feature I miss from that Passat. Who knew auto-up was the feature I’d miss?

  12. adamwinn says:

    Wow… if these numbers are accurate, it means car power windows kill 50% more people than sharks annually.

    Maybe power windows need to be moved higher up the food chain?

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      @adamwinn: what if I crash into the ocean and a shark is trying to get through the window? if I have this feature, he’ll make it in….what killed me then? power windows and sharks.

      I’m just gonna walk everywhere, except the ocean.

  13. MrEvil says:

    Back when I was a kid, y’know how my parents kept my sister and me from getting guillotined by the power windows? First off they used the lock switch on the driver’s door. Second they never left us in the car unattended with keys in the ignition (even if we did figure out the lock switch, fat lot of good it did us). And lastly should my sister and I ever get caught screwing with the power windows or locks we got a severe paddlin’.

    I mean seriously, this isn’t anything that common sense and good parental discipline won’t solve.

    I mean the Swine flu has killed more kids this year than power windows have killed in the past decade. I think the money spent on these auto-reversing motors could probably be better put towards making larger quantities of vaccine available.

  14. kjherron says:

    Every time I see a story like this, it reminds me of the story A Nice Morning Drive. This is the story that inspired the Rush song Red Barchetta.

  15. sp00nix says:

    Heh. My Volvo windows were unstoppable. it was like the had a 5HP motor moving them. Al-tho slow, so you would have time to stop if some one got stuck in it, how ever that my happen.

  16. Pixel says:

    Easier and cheaper solution, use the style of switches Toyota does.

    You have to lift the switch to raise the window, so a kid standing on it can only make the switch go down. No special circuits, no special sensors, so they should cost the same as the switches the other car companies are currently using.

    • Falcon5768 says:

      @Pixel: Those are the same switches GM has been using since 1990, so I suspect its people actually forcing them up.

      Meaning you either are mindblowingly stupid or physically attempting to injure or kill someone.

    • balthisar says:

      @Pixel: Yeah, current Fords have the same design for switches.