WASHINGTON - A group of safety organizations is petitioning the federal government to require safer power windows in cars and trucks sold in the United States.
One of the organizations, Kids and Cars, also is asking the media to carry public service announcements warning people about power-window dangers.
Video versions graphically show that rising windows easily slice through tough fruits and vegetables - an indication of what can happen to children who are leaning through car doors.
The safety organizations have documented 23 child deaths from power windows in the past decade.
They suspect there have been more. The organizations note that the installation rate for power windows has risen sharply over the past 30 years.
The campaign is aimed primarily at the Big 3 because most import-brand companies already use safer switches, the organizations say.
Some overseas manufacturers also use auto-reverse mechanisms, which make windows go back down if they encounter an obstacle.
The safety advocates argue that safer switches, ones that must be pulled up to make windows rise, are actually slightly less expensive to install than the rocker or toggle varieties, which are more easily tripped by a child's elbow, hand or knee.
Auto-reverse mechanisms would add no more than about $60 to the price of a vehicle, the safety organizations say.
Eron Shosteck, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, says a government regulation is not needed because companies already are phasing the lift-up switches into their vehicles.
In 1996, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration accepted a similar petition for a rule to require lift-up switches, but the agency never completed consideration of the proposal.
NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson says he does not know why.
The latest petition was filed by Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Kids and Cars, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, the Zoie Foundation and the Trauma Foundation.