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!