Window glass in Peruvian buses can kill

The use of window glass in car windows and windshields is a serious risk to people’s health, as when they break they shatter into razor-edged shards that can kill, warned Peruvian consumer association chief Jaime Delgado today. A highway accident last week illustrated this, when the majority of passengers suffered serious injuries – almost none of which were caused by the impact of the crash, but rather by flying splinters of glass from the windows. Had the bus involved complied with safety standards and had hardened glass windows, the accident would have been far less serious. 

Delgado explained that there are three classes of glass: “raw” or window glass; laminated; and tempered or “hardened”. Window glass should never be used in vehicles, as it shatters into dangerous, sharp-edged fragments. By law, windscreens must be made of laminated glass, which stays in one piece when it breaks as the glass is bound to a tough internal plastic layer.  

Tempered glass must be used for other windows. It is a form of glass processed at high temperatures to make it stronger and more flexible, as well as giving it unique properties when broken: instead of fracturing into large shards, it shatters into hundreds of small cubes, which are far less dangerous to passengers. “Sadly lack of regulation in
Peru and a desire to cut costs have led to the frequent use of raw window glass instead of the more expensive but much safer products mandated by law. The consequences only come to light when there is an accident,” Delgado told the Andina agency.

 He added that even the impact of a water balloon, commonly thrown at vehicles during carnival, can break and window and send potentially lethal shards flying. Each year Peruvians are killed and injured in this way.  Meanwhile, the consumer chief lamented what he sees as a total lack of intervention by the government to address this issue. Much of
Peru’s low costs public transport does not comply with safety standards, in the use of unsafe glass and a variety of other infringements. Tempered glass should have a logo and code etched into it, normally in the corner. If the logo is absent or painted on, the glass is unsafe.

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