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CBS 2 Investigation: An Improper Windshield Installation Can Be Deadly

Windshield Installation

A poor windshield installation can have deadly consequences. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Read this story carefully if you’re a driver, because a CBS 2 investigation has uncovered a danger that could involve your windshield, and could place you and your passengers at risk.

As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported, the danger killed Jeanne Fransway of Chippewa Falls, Wis., back in 1999.

“She was just 25, starting her life,” said the victim’s older brother, Jon Fransway.

But Jeanne Fransway became a victim of negligence.

“She was found laying on her windshield,” her brother said.

Jeanne Fransway was ejected from her car during an accident — flying 70 feet out the front — where the windshield was supposed to be. It had recently been replaced, but installed improperly, leaving Fransway unprotected.

“A few days after the accident, I held her in the hospital and she died,” Jon Fransway said.

Experts said it was not an isolated case. Millions of drivers with replacement windshields like Fransway’s may be at risk from defective installations.

“Your windshield is really part of the safety system, and it’s really important that it be installed properly, as important as it is to install your brakes right,” said Debra Levy of the Auto Glass Safety Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the safe replacement of glass.

As many as 85 percent of so-called replacement windows are installed wrong, Levy said.

Levy said because there are no federal laws regulating the industry, there is all sorts of shoddy workmanship going on.
“Anyone can put a magnetic sign on the side of their truck and say that they are an auto-glass installer,” Levy said.

And that is how it happens. You get a crack in your windshield, and many drivers unknowingly call inexperienced installers.

Laura Overbay spent hundreds on replacing a windshield, but luckily she discovered it was defective while getting her car washed, before an accident could happen.

“If you see you have any kind of leakage in terms of water, yes, you want to get that checked out right away,” Levy said.

Other precautions include checking the molding around the glass. If it feels gummy, the installers may have used the wrong adhesive.

And if the glass itself appears wavy or uneven, that is also a red flag, Levy said.

“In my sister’s case, the adhesive that was used was outdated,” Jon Fransway said.

Jon Fransway said he does not want anyone to meet the same fate as his sister. Until there are regulations he is warning drivers it’s all up to them.

“I just want them to make sure they understand and be their own advocate when it comes to windshield replacement,” he said.

To ensure your replacement windshield is installed correctly, look for a company certified by the Auto Glass Safety Council. Learn more at agrss.com/for-consumers.