INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A push for a change is growing on a problem first exposed by I-Team 8 last month. Some national experts are now calling for a reconsideration of plans to require high strength, laminated glass on car side windows.
If you're involved in an accident, your car's side windows can be the quickest way to safety--especially if you crash into water. But, if the windows won't open, tools like ResQMe—a commercially available rescue hammer—can bust the window out and help save your life.
More than three million ResQMe devices have been sold worldwide over the last 10 years, with about half now in use in the U.S. Parts for the device are made outside Lafayette, Ind. and assembled in Valparaiso and in California.
But, a growing number of side windows are now laminated, just like windshields. I-Team 8 found that additional glazing on those types of windows renders rescue hammers like ResQMe and other tools useless. That type of glass requires a first responder rescue saw or specialized drill to cut out.
The results of I-Team 8’s investigation got the attention of the man who designed and built the ResQMe. After seeing I-Team 8’s findings, Laurent Colasse says he has serious concerns about plans to require stronger glass on new cars in the future.
“It's a concern, definitely,” Colasse told I-Team 8. “It will make it more difficult for first responders to react and save, potentially, a life. Because, it will require some special tool like a jaw of life to be able to cut through the window. It will take more than a minute to take that person out, and by then it can be too late.”
I-Team 8's tests proved cars can sink in less than two minutes, giving those inside very little time to make the right decisions.
“If we changed completely to laminated glass, then we have a big issue, and a big issue for first responders who won’t be able to use the same rescue techniques,” Colasse said.
Colasse acknowledged that conventional techniques, like his ResQMe tool, likely wouldn’t work.
“If we move to [laminated glass] on all windows, I won’t have a business any more. It’s that simple. There are benefits to [laminated glass]. But, most [victims who are ejected from vehicles] were not wearing seat belts. I think the issue and lobbying for lamination could have been created because of that,” he said.
Tools like ResQMe will be put to the test during live demonstrations with Indiana State Police divers on Saturday.
UPDATE 10:45 P.M.: Many Indiana State Police dispatches were reporting accidents on major roads due to slick weather conditions Sunday night.
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