Includes highway safety publications and journals on road maintenance, engineering and injury litigation, as well as traffic safety facts, accident and collision investigation information and consulting, court and liability issues, and links to transportation related organizations such as departments of transportation and safety organizations.  Also includes discussion of road construction issues, legal cases on traffic accidents and collisions, and other information on highway safety.  See our highway safety expert services and publications.
Auto and Road User Journal
Copyright © 1997 by TranSafety, Inc.
June 24, 1997
TranSafety, Inc.
1-800-777-2338
(U.S. and Canada)
(360) 683-6276
Fax: (360) 335-6402
transafety@live.com















Highway Safety Publications Catalog. Articles on Road Engineering, Road Maintenance & Management, and Injury Litigation. Information and consulting for the Automobile and Road User, as well as for law professionals in accident investigations.
TranSafety's free consumer journal for automobile and road users, three subscription journals on road maintenance, engineering, and injury litigation, and highway safety publications catalog. See our free consumer journal for automobile and road users, three subscription journals on road maintenance, engineering, and injury litigation, and a highway safety publications catalog.

Most Injuries from Vehicle Power Windows Are to Children

A recent study of injuries associated with motor vehicle power windows showed that these injuries were generally to the finger, wrist, or hand and that children suffered most of the injuries.

This study, described in a U.S. Department of Transportation "Research Note" entitled "Injuries Associated with Hazards Involving Motor Vehicle Power Windows" (May 1997), was completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) using data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). NEISS collects its data "from a sample of 91 of the 6,127 hospitals nationwide with at least six beds that provide emergency care on a continuing 24-hour basis."

NEISS uses a three-level information-gathering process:

  • surveillance of emergency room injuries;
  • follow-back telephone interviews with injured persons or witnesses; and
  • comprehensive investigations with injured persons and/or witnesses.

The researchers estimated that 499 people with injuries attributed to power windows were treated in emergency rooms from October 1, 1993 through September 30, 1994. Ninety-three percent of the injuries were associated with passenger car power windows, and 91 percent of the patients did not require hospitalization.

The cause of 88 percent of the reported injuries was unintentionally closing the power window on a person's hand, wrist, or finger. Nine percent of the remaining injuries resulted from a faulty power window, and the other 4 percent from an incident related to working on a power window and/or being cut by broken glass. (The percentages do not add up due to the method used to round the numbers.)

Table 1 details the types of injuries received, with fractures and crushing being the most common power-window injuries.

Table 1
Estimated Number of Persons Injured by M/V
Power Windows by Injury Diagnosis
October 1993 - September 1994
Diagnosis Estimated No.
of Persons Injured
% Total
Fracture 192 38%
Crushing 150 30%
Contusion or Abrasion 77 15%
Dislocation 43 9%
Laceration 19 4%
Strain or Sprain 18 4%
Total 499 100%

All of the injuries cited in Table 1 were to the finger (77 percent), wrist (12 percent), or hand (11 percent). Hospitals did not categorize any of the injuries as severe; however, 47 percent of the injuries were considered "moderate." The remaining 53 percent were classified as "minor."

Table 2 provides a breakdown of injuries by age. The majority of injuries caused by vehicle power windows are to children, with 64 percent affecting children under 15.

Table 2
Estimated Number of Persons Injured by M/V
Power Windows by Age
October 1993 - September 1994
Age of Person Estimated No.
of Persons Injured
% Total
0-5 Years 158 32%
6-14 Years 158 32%
15-29 Years 68 14%
30-44 Years 38 8%
45-59 Years 43 9%
Over 60 Years 34 7%
Total 499 100%

For a copy of this "Research Note," call 202-366-4198 or 1-800-934-8517 or visit the NHTSA website at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/ncsa. Contacts for questions: Henri Richardson (202-366-5354); Delmas Johnson (202-366-5382).

Copyright © 1997 by TranSafety, Inc.


Back to Auto and Road User Journal Index