• Feb 15th 2008 at 6:06PM
  • 30

My son asked what would happen if his finger were in the path of the electric window when it closed. I suggested we stick a piece of Red Vine licorice in the window to find out. The results weren't pretty, though to this day I'm still finding tiny bits of red licorice stuck in the channels of the window frame. Boys...

In a move aimed at preventing incidents like these in vehicles, a bill was sent to President Bush earlier this week with brand new safety regulations for automakers. Under the new bill, power windows would be required to automatically reverse themselves if resistance is encountered from a finger or, say, a Twizzlers. Some high-end automakers already include this type of window safety system in their vehicles, thought they are not currently mandated industry-wide.

A second provision says that there must be a minimum standard for driver visibility to the rear of the vehicle, presumably to help parents avoid backing up over Timmy's Big Wheel... or Timmy himself. Automakers could meet this new rule with additional mirrors, cameras, or sensors to the vehicle. New uses for Infiniti's Around View Monitor come to mind. The third and final provision is designed to prevent accidental shifting of vehicles out of park, and would likely turn your floor-mounted shifter into the auto-equivalent of a child-proof lighter.

The entire auto industry is reportedly behind the legislation and it's obviously already passed both houses of Congress, so analysts expect the President to sign it without any changes. While these new laws will undoubtedly make vehicles less dangerous for children, an alert driver still remains the most important piece in the safety puzzle.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Some of my friends and I did a test like this... using our heads in automatic reversing tailgates trunks and sliding doors. What we found was the power tailgate on the Gm trucks hurt the least while the power sliding doors on some of the Asian manufacturers hurt our heads the most.

      Yes a brilliant test I know but we were bored.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh ye of lilltle faith in our well educated yet street smart legislators.
      If it were up to "them" (they remind me of that giant ant flic of the 50's) pass true workable laws.
      a. When you purchase a car, you must program in how many children you have, their ages, and their I.Q.
      b. Any family with children are not allowed to have opening rear windows nor a reverse gear. Two problems solved.
      c. The granny clause. Upon becoming an empty nester, you must move to an adult only community where no children under the age of thirty (some just don't get the hint to move out) are allowed in the resedential area. Visitation can take place at the local Chucky Cheese. This provision will reduce the risk of backing over the "little ones". Also applies to midgets.
      d. Exemptions. All duly elected officials are exempted from this law. They exempt themselves from everything else so why should this be an exception. The one exception to this rule would be the Clinton-Bush rule. Separate legislation forebidding breeding would be enacted.
      e. Safety net. In case of emergency where grandparents or parents must drive an unauthorised vehicle with youngsters (see rule b) a safety nanny must be employed. Readily availiable manpower can be found in abundance at our southern border. This will be someone that helps you back-up and makes sure your kids are buckled in and sitting properly, not making any distractive gestures or noises. Both hands of the nanny would then be placed over the window switches to avoid any accidental (illegal) operation of the switches. And all children must be handcuffed to a chain welded to the floor.
      • 7 Years Ago

      You are missing the point entirely. Someone running over your kid didn't do so because of that cool C pillar, something like that would happen because the poser in the driver's seat wouldn't be paying attention *and* you -- the alleged parent -- would have to be even more self-absorbed than you are now to allow the ankle-biter to be hanging around the blind spot of a TWO TON CAR in the first place.

      Your cute hypothetical scenario demonstrates both you and the driver wanna-be to asinine idiots of monumental proportions.

      The solution here is PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY; not more contradictory government interference that costs money to implement for practically no return.

      What you call "negativity" on this post, I call awareness of the concept. Wake up.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You admit that for such a scenario to be possible, it would still be the fault of the driver. So what's your point? That we should continue to have technology bail out drivers every time some government hack says there's a statistically insignificant scenario out there that needs a law to address it?

        Situational Awareness? Please. So dramatic.. talk to your boss the same way too? Ignoring the all-too-obligatory mention of the eerie similarity to personal responsibility, do feel free to enlighten the rest of us of precisely when this became impossible to accomplish this sans technological gizmos. Unless you seriously mean to imply that in 100+ years of driving, people in the USA haven't ever been able to get this one figured out. I know our DMV system is staffed with candy asses and just about anyone can get a license, but we STILL license people to drive based on some minimal standard, don't we? How the hell do these airheads manage to pass such exams without the bleeps and the flashes on their collective dashboards anyway?

        Being a self-professed geek, I'm all for technology to assist the driver, but this routine mandating of "safety" equipment is getting out of hand. At what point do we say: "You screwed up. You are accountable for the consequences resulting from your poor choices and actions." Every year there's always something wrong with cars (among other countless things) that government just has to "fix", and every year we hear the same "that used to be the driver's job" type arguments only to have you and other like-minded babies smugly infer we don't know anything so we should just shut up and take it. Screw you people. I've already heard it all with TPMS. I don't need a light in my dash and an obnoxious siren telling me to check the air pressure in my tires when I already do that once a month at car wash time. I needed to pay a $500 premium on my new car even less than that, and you can guess how much I care to pay in order to maintain that damned nuisance.

        Contrary to popular opinion, there are those of us on the roads who DO know how to drive and maintain our vehicles. Why is it that we as a society refuse to punish those who can't be bothered to do the same? Further, why is it so often offensive to you and other such intellectual lightweights to suggest we do so?

        You concede personal responsibility as a necessity right from the start: "a driver is called on to slow down and expect peds from nowhere" … yet you proceed to make the argument that it's beneficial to condition that out of drivers anyway for what effectively amounts to the greater good like an excellent little Marxist. Excuse me, but why is your point here good enough for cruising around town but then suddenly useless in a parking lot or a driveway? There's no answer you could provide that couldn't be refuted with demanding and enforcing personal responsibility on the driver. People like you who prefer to pass on such critical duties to a thoughtless microchip are the problem, not the lack of technological babysitters. I'd almost bet dollars to donuts you thought the V-Chip was a great idea too.

        Make this stuff optional for all I care, but don't compel me to pay for superfluous equipment I don't need just because you're not qualified to be driving a car in the first place. Or you could just cut me a check to cover the ever-increasing costs of your mandated "Situational Awareness" - take your pick. At your unmistakably advanced age, surely you remember the days gone by when you could choose for yourself before government told you what to think, right?
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's all good, but ultimately, if you back over a kid, you back over a kid. Better situational awareness could prevent it. Remember, in a pedestrian rich environment, a driver is called on to slow down and expect peds from nowhere.

        Tho original poster's scenario was, unfortunately, not cute OR hypothetical--there are all too many incidents of car/ped accidents--many of which are the fault of the driver. Maybe when you grow out of your early twenties, you'll realize you don't know it all. Until then, it would behoove you to maintain good situational awareness.
      • 7 Years Ago
      IT's funny how people make fun of others who don't believe in evolution, yet won't evolution take its course.

      Back in the day, we could count on bears and other predators to take down the stupid. Now, we've pushed them into unpopulated areas. Back in the day, if you were too stupid to not kill or maim yourself, we knew it was meant to be. Now we try to hard to keep dummies alive and protect them from themselves.

      Your kid should know better than to play behind a running vehicle. You should know what the heck is going on around you in a car.

      If you're too stupid to do any of this, you and/or your kids succumb to Darwin's theory. As you should.
      • 7 Years Ago
      single-spacing does not suit autoblog...
      • 7 Years Ago
      IIRC VW already has the window feature and has for years (my '99 Jetta had it).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Christ. I want to move to a country where the government doesn't treat us like mentally retarded kids.

      Guess what? If your kid is stupid enough to roll the window up on his fingers, he's only helping Darwin along. I hate all this safety crap.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Needs a little more proof reading. Thought instead though, express instead of expect.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thats exactly what I was thinking. They should just make them so they reverse a half inch and stop.
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      That seems unsafe if they make the windows roll back down due to resistance; what if someone had their windows down and was being robbed or chased and ran back to the car, the culprit only has to push down on the windows...
      • 7 Years Ago
      increased technology = increased parts = increased weight = decreased fuel mileage = CAFE hit.
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