Authored By: Alicia Lammers
Every year, automobile sunroofs continue to grow in popularity and size without any safety regulations on them. The New York Times states that about 40 percent of 2017 model year vehicles sold in the U.S. came with a sunroof. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sunroof sizes are increasing every year.
Our friend and client, Eric T. Chaffin writes about the potential ejection hazards sunroofs have in crashes.
An 18-year-old girl was thrown from a closed sunroof of her family’s 2000 Ford Expedition. The accident left her paralyzed and her family took the vehicle manufacturer to court. The jury sided with Ford due to the lack of laws or regulation over sun roofs.
Chaffin writes this type of life changing accident is unfortunately not as uncommon as you would think. The NHTSA reported between 1997-2008 about 300 people killed and 1,400 injured when people were thrown out of sunroofs. The NHTSA is suggesting that they may soon propose new safety regulations because of the risk of sunroofs.
Vehicle manufactures are also thinking ahead of the possibility of a government regulation with sun roofs. Hyundai investigators studied safety options for sun roofs including a panoramic sunroof airbag. This airbag would protect the occupant even if the sunroof was open. The company plans to conduct further research to improve the design and has a goal of implementing the product within the next few years.
For more information on sunroofs and ejection hazards, click here to read Eric T. Chaffin’s article.