US Legislation Against Window Toggle Switches

Ah our government… you've gotta love'em. Hopefully this doesn't effect the MINI but you never know! This news comes from the NHTSA website:

NHTSA Announces New Measure To Enhance the Safety of Power Window Switches For the Protection of Children in Passenger Vehicles

Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D., administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), today announced a regulatory upgrade to enhance the safety of power window switches and prevent child deaths and injuries caused by the inadvertent closing of car windows.

While the agency's upgraded power window standard does not specify a particular design, it will require that all passenger vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States be equipped with a safer switch.

The regulation will prohibit non-recessed “rocker” or “toggle” switches that can be unintentionally activated by a small child playing in a car. Most manufacturers are expected to comply with the new rule through the use of recessed switches, or “pull up-push down” switches that must be lifted to close the window.

Dr. Runge and U.S. Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio, a strong advocate of child passenger safety measures, unveiled the new regulation during a visit to the Columbus Children's Hospital in Ohio today.

…The regulatory upgrade, a change to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 118, is expected to accelerate the trend by auto manufacturers, many of which are already installing safer power window switches in new vehicles. Safer switches will be mandated in cars, vans, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles made for sale in the U.S. on or after October 1, 2008.

You can see the entire article on the NHTSA website here.

It's not entirely clear if the MINI currently complies with the switches being “recessed” or if further design changes will have to be made to meet these new regulations. If they are I can see a large grey market for the “euro” toggle switch panel right around 2008!

  • BrantV

    Current switches exceed these regulations. They are shielded, must be lifted to close the window, do not have auto up, and most importantly, are not in the door pull. So a child standing or kneeling in the seat with their head sticking out won't be able to accidentally step on the button and cause the window to close. If anything did manage to fall and get past the protective half rings the window would open not close.

  • dotBob

    Hopefully the loops surrounding the individual toggle switches is enough to be considered recessed, and the location on the center console (away from the window, where a child may stand) will satisfy the regulation. Besides, standing on the toggle switch (somehow) would lower the window, not raise it. I think the intent is to eliminate rocker switches, hence the line, “the agency’s upgraded power window standard does not specify a particular design”.

  • One can only hope.

  • Matt

    gabe, you need a 'bang head' smilie

  • diamondrg

    My wife had a scarry moment a few years ago, when our dog riding in the front seat of her Honda Accord, put her paw on the window switch. The window went up catching her head while closing. My wife was able to quickly use the drivers window switch to lower the passenger window before Gretchen was injured. With the MINI toggle design this could not happen.

  • BrantV

    Do the windows have power when the key is removed?

    I'm shocked this wasn't already a regulation. My last two vehicles have had recessed switches that you had to pull up to close. It's these lengthly delays by the auto industry, in agreeing to more stringent regulations, that makes me cringe whenever I hear an auto manufacturer boast about exceeding regulations. This has been a known issue for at least a decade, and is only now (well three years from now) that this is going to get addressed. Pathetic!

  • GSKChicago

    It frustrates me that yet again, the government needs to step in to regulate people for not always doing what they should on their own. Granted, I say this as someone who has no children, but I do have nieces and nephews. In todays day and age, do people still leave their kids unattended in the car, with the engine running? My parents did when I was little, but that was well over 20 years ago and it was the 'burbs. Today, that is not something that should be done. I don't disagree that there are better ways to make window switches and that manufacturers should indeed adopt better designs. But it is frustrating that it is a forced issue, not voluntary. Again, it shows how litigous our country is. A parent leaves their child in the car unattended, the child jumps around the car and accidentally closes the window on themselves. Horrible yes, but why is the parent not held liable, instead, the parent sues the car company and wins!? I am touching on an issue that may invoke others opinions and I am not looking to start a debate or cause people to start hating seeing my name on this site. Just stating my thoughts. I am not saying I'm right or wrong, just stating my thoughts.

  • Bart

    I think we should go back to crank-up windows and rotary dial cell phones, then minivans and SUVs would be much safer places for children & animals to run wild in 🙂

  • jarrett

    I guess a barefoot child could do this in a mini but,h the child would have to lean out the passenger window and activate the passenger window toggle in the up position with their toes.

  • I challenge anyone, let along a small child, to close the MINIs window while sticking their head out. It's not easy.

  • bukowski

    Who's allowing children to play alone in running cars?! G.damn. Buffer the world for Darwin's children. For those parents that don't buckle-up the kids 40% of the time, right? “You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.” -Charles

  • Sounds like you've tried, Gabe. 😉

    Maybe the government should just ban automobiles altogether. Those things are dangerous.

  • Don't think I don't test everything on this site 🙂

  • KEE

    I like the switches in my MINI were they are. I only wish BMW would've left the window controls on the X3 on center console. I owned a Toyota with the pull up switch but have been in the back seat of a Ford Crown Vic Taxi and noticed the difference in the switch. It's on top of the armrest and you push one side or the other to get the window to operate. A poor design with this safety issue in mind. If you remember early GM switches where in the door card and had to be pushed up to close the window so it wasn't an issue. Buy making switches more convenient they have become a hazard in some cases.

  • RB

    My kids never drowned in a bucket, went through the front windshield, got suffocated by a plastic bag, drowned in a pool, got heat stroke in a hot car, I never electrocuted myself in the shower with my hair dryer aaaaaaaaaaaaaand so on.

    We in the USA need to do something about these idiots that can't seem to get through a day using the brains they came equipped with. They make the rest of us all pay for their stupidity & laziness.

    I think it's amazing that we are controlled by the weakest in our society instead of the other way around. We in the USA have it backassward! But since making better bigger tanks, funding corrupt nations and fighting their battles is a bigger priority that education I guess we deserve what we have now.

    Damn I'm amazed us 50+ folks survived not having helmuts on bikes and all those warning lables we need now and oh ya those violent cartoons. Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck.

    We are ruled by Larry, Moe & Curly Joe.

    Well I guess I'll go take a shower now, I hope the cord is long enough.

    And that's my 2 cents worth this early AM!


  • RB


    My wife just bought a '05 Audi A4. One touch up and one touch down, windows and moonroof. OMG, I hope I don't get my head stuck in the moonroof!

    But really it's a nice place [moonnroof] for my grandson too play when it's 130 degrees outside while I run into the mini mart, with the motor running, to PU that six pack for that long drive home. But I'm sure he'll be OK I left a 5 gallon bucket full of water for him to play with.

    SEATBELTS, hell my sainted mama was thrown clear outta a car an survived, but haid she been a'warin her seat belt shed ah been daid now, so that's why I hain't been awear'n mine as of late. Yes sir plum daid!


  • SrBlanco

    I heard on NPR that there have been 37 child deaths since 1990 related to power windows. One woman talks about how she closed the window on her own kid! Am I an evil person for immediately thinking “stop whining and let natural selection do its thing!”?

    I have managed to survive to the ripe old age of 30 having never put a plastic bag over my head, or burned my hoo hoo by crotching a hot cup of coffee. I wholeheartedly agree with GKSChicago on this one. I don’t need the government to regulate what should be common sense! When are Americans going to start taking personal responsibility for their actions and stop blaming their stupidity on everybody else?

    Rant over.

    MINIs rule!

  • Frankie

    IMO, the one-touch close is very convenient, just one click, your hands can go back on the steering wheel while driving, and the windows closes itself. My wife's new 04 Acura TL has that, we both love this feature. Like someone mentioned above, I guess in US, people needs to learn to give limited freedom to kid, especially not allowing them to be alone in the car, running around inside the resturants, crawling on the floor inside a mall where everyone walks with dirty shoes, then the kids use the same hands crawling to play with his/her mouth or pick up the food.

  • I guess I'll have to write to my Congresswoman to request legislation to require Darwin switches for all cars. Wait a minute, my Congresswoman is Lizzie Dole. Yep, I'd better start writing.

    (Mr Bridger, do you use a crash dummy to test these things?)

  • I don't think this legislation will affect the MINI's toggle switches. The types of switches referred to by NHTSA are like those found in many GM vehicles where the switches are mounted on the driver's door panel facing up and can be activated either way by pressing down on them one way or another.

    The model of course is the push-pull type switch found in cars like VW where you actually have to pull the switch up to roll the window up, which is much harder to activate accidentally.

    The MINI's switches are not a danger because even though they are toggle switches, they operate in a similar fashion to the push-pull switches — you have to push up on them (and hold them) to make the window go up which again is difficult to do accidentally. And with the switches located centrally in the car it seems like it would be difficult for a child to activate the switch and hang his head out the window at the same time.

    The roll hoops around the switches are mainly there for crash protection but they serve the additional function of helping to prevent accidental activation.

    One touch up is a great convenience feature as long as pinch protection is present (and it is in cars like VW) so that even if someone manages to trap some body part in the closing window, the window will stop and reverse once the obstruction is encountered.

  • BrantV

    I think we're safe too. But MINI has a pattern of reading the worst into these things and overreacting. i.e. the original missing rear fogs thinking they were illegal when they weren't. Of course they fixed that, and made them illegal in CA and OR. Go figure.

  • dgszweda

    I say if someone gets hurt from the windows in the Mini, then count it as population control, and a good way to clean up the gene pool.

  • Jason

    The MINI is a two door four seater. Is it not already law that children under a specific size have to ride in the rear of a car? It would be pretty hard to have some kid in the back seat get his head stuck out the front windows. I think the NHTSA needs to focus on getting more of the monster trucks out of the hands of the soccer moms. They drive with a cell phone in one hand and five screaming kids in the rear.

  • Phil

    I doubt the MINI will be affected in any way. The location of the switches and the way they operate should pass the NHTSA requirements handily.

  • By the way, this isn't legislation, bcause no legislators were involved. This is a regulation from a government agency.


  • GSKChicago

    To Jason's point, there is a law regarding children in the back, I think, but it depends on each state too, I think. Beyond that, there is a law that children have to be in a child seat restraint up to a specific weight requirement.

    How many times have you driven down the road and seen a kid standing in the car or sitting on someone's lap or both throughout a drive down the road. All is well and good until they slam on their brake's, the kid flies through the windshield and they blame you for that. They blame you even though the child wasn't restrained as law states they should be.

    This new window regulation is being put in place to accomodate those same geniuses who were breeding in the part of the gene pool that didn't have enough chlorine!

  • GSKChicago

    Sorry, meant to say they blame you even though the child wasn't restrained as COMMON SENSE states they should be.

  • csdmmnt

    This is not inconsistent at least. Fits right in there with these real life warnings to save us from ourselves:

  • michael Boice

    …parenting is difficult, you actually have to watch your children.

    Free the roadways from idiots and motor on my friends!

  • Benjamin

    “It's easier to put on slippers than carpet the entire world.”

    -Stuart Smalley

  • This is getting to a THX1138 society… And instead of escaping the colony with a rad scooter thing, it'll be a Mini Cooper S with a pulley voiding the warranty and toggle window switches!!!

  • …my Wife and I don't have kids;however,when our Neighbor asked me to take her son to Pee-Wee Football practice he doesn't have a deep seated desire to play with the switches and jump out the window…

    Anyhoo,anything that will help save the life of a small child and won't get in the way of having complete fun with my and others' MINI,so be it…

  • Me

    parents with 4 door cars and power windows and uncontrollable children should just activate the drivers lockout so that the only switches that work are on the drivers door.

  • I'm just wondering how many traffic accidents will be caused by people being confused with child proof window switches.

  • MiniLifeCrisis

    If you would for a moment, image that cars have not been invented until Today (2004). You wouldn't have a prayer to get them made because of lawyers. Image telling your lawyers that your new car, which hasn't been invented until today, is capable of 100 + mph, seats 4 or more, and the passengers are strapped to a chassis with at tank of liquid explosive material. To move the car about, an “engine” will use the liquid explosive material to generate 1000's of mini explosions each minute. And to top it off, your marketing experts predict that there will be millions of these 'cars' driving around the planet.

    oh yes… you would be permitted to produce such a thing today if it weren't already invented. NOT!

  • RB

    MiniLife Crisis…

    Right on, that's very funny.


  • ritt

    i am very surprised the mini doesn't have a window lock. many times i have gone to hit the foglight switch and accidently hit the pass. side window switch. i am thinking about having the windows tinted and cannot have the windows down for 2 weeks. as for safety and the nhtsa; any recall that may occur is purely up to the owner to have the toggles changed, i am very happy with mine and dont want to have them replaced.

  • me again


    2 weeks for tinted windows? what kinda crack your installer smoking? 24 hours is all you need.

  • Johhhny Doeboy

    what a communist thing to do america EGR catalysts headrests seatbelts and TPMS, what a bunch of BS we dont need.