Sunroofs and Ejection Risk
Sunroofs are becoming more and more popular. According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the sunroof market size is increasing every year, with not only more sunroofs, but larger sunroofs appearing on more and more vehicles. In 2015, market size was nearly $5 billion, with an average growth rate projected to increase by 10.9 percent by 2022.
Meanwhile, sunroof related safety features have not kept up. Currently, there is no safety device to protect occupants from being ejected through the sunroof in an accident.
Sunroofs Potential Ejection Hazards in Crashes
In February 2018, the New York Times reported that an 18-year-old girl was thrown through the closed sunroof of her sport-utility vehicle and paralyzed. Her family sued Ford, the maker of the vehicle. Ford won that case and the company noted that no government regulations require any safety features that would help keep a person from going through a sunroof.
Currently, the NHTSA requires no safety device to protect occupants from a roof ejection. According to a 2012 study, there are a number of factors affecting ejection risks in rollover crashes, including seatbelt use and rollover severity. Though a side curtain airbag deployment could help prevent an occupant from getting ejected through the adjacent side window, the “occupant is still at risk for ejection through an alternate ejection portal, principally the sunroof,” the researchers wrote.
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See also this summary.