Mr. Fred J. Turcotte
2633 Parisian Court
Punta Gorda, FL 33950-6325

Dear Mr. Turcotte:

Please pardon the delay in responding to your letter to this agency recommending that auto manufacturers provide interior latches in trunk lids so that a person could escape if locked inside.

You stated in your letter that many car hijackings, commonly called carjackings, are taking place and that in many instances, the perpetrator locks the victim in the trunk, then takes the victim to a remote place and murders him or her. You stated that an interior latch could provide the victim a means to escape.

An interior latch may or may not be effective as a means of escaping from the trunk. The agency is concerned that criminals such as carjackers, knowing that there is an interior latch in the trunk, could disable the latch, or worse, incapacitate the victim before placing him or her in the trunk. In addition, we have no data on the number of deaths or injuries attributable to intentional or inadvertent entrapment in the trunk of a car. Accordingly, we have no basis at this time to issue regulations requiring latches on the insides of trunk lids.

We will, however, continue to monitor our defect complaint files, and law enforcement data to be alert to potential problems of this nature. These are measures we normally take in our continuing efforts to improve motor vehicle safety.

I hope this information is helpful to you, and thank you for your interest in motor vehicle safety.

Sincerely,
John Womack
Acting Chief Counsel
ref:5/30/97
d:5/30/97