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Garage door safety reverse beams

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I don't know if anyone has been prosecuted for doing that, but 16CFR1211 is a federal law that says those are to be mounted down at either side of the overhead door. That's been a federal law since 1992-3. By violating that law, the owner is at risk if the door maims or kills someone or someone's pet.

Let's imagine that a kid walking under a door that's not adjusted properly, and where the secondary entrapment sensors are jerry-rigged like that, gets crushed and killed by one of those doors, and the local cops choose not to prosecute, because it was an accident and nobody actually meant to kill the kid. Well, despite the fact that the local cops declined to prosecute, the homeowner could still conceivably be tried under Federal Law for Involuntary Manslaughter.

All that's needed is a zealous federal prosecutor and the homeowner(s) could find themselves facing significant jail time in addition to fines, because it is a Federal law that mandates those sensors be mounted at the sides of the overhead door. Moving the sensors up over the door or up over the opener is an intentional act which requires forethought.

It's like speeding and killing someone. You thought about exceeding the speed limit, made your decision and then pressed down harder on the pedal and went over the limit, an accident occurs and someone dies. The way the law looks at it, you intended to exceed the speed limit and with forethought did so, causing an accident and death. You intentionally committed a crime that caused the death - you are now subject to prosecution and civil lawsuit.

If one of those jerry-rigged doors kills a kid, the prosecutor will probably term the homeowner's action a callus disregard for the safety of others.

The statute is:

18USC, Part 1, Chapter 51, Section 1112 Involuntary Manslaughter - In the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or in the commission in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, of a lawful act which might produce death.

(b) Within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States,

Whoever is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

I was involved with one such case in Norddeutschland in the military. I was the Norddeutschland Juvenile Investigator at the time. A senior NCO cranked up the temperature setting of the water heater in his government quarters in violation of a general order put out by the command that said that water heater temperature settings shall never exceed 120 degrees F.

His baby suffered third degree burns over 95% of her body when mom set her down in the tub without checking the water temperature first. It was only a momentary lapse - she normally tested the water first. She realized it the second she let go of the child and reached back into the tub to pull her out - suffering burns herself - but it was too late - the kid died less than two days later.

The father didn't mean to kill the kid but he did intend to violate a lawful order by cranking up the water temperature and leaving it there. That was all they needed - proof that he'd violated a law - in that case a lawful order by the command. He not only lost his child, and his wife and family (Because the wife was rightfully furious at him - and probably herself - and couldn't bear to look at him), he lost all pay and allowances, was reduced to E1, spent years in jail and was then discharged with a dishonorable discharge and was left ineligible for any military benefits - all 'cuz he was the only one in the family who liked really hot showers.

Think about what kind of ammunition such a careless and intentional omission provides the lawyer representing the parents of a kid killed or maimed by an overhead door that's been jerry-rigged like that. The lawsuit suddenly goes from a low six digit number to a 7 or 8 digit number.

Don't pooh, pooh, these. The law pertaining to how these are to installed and adjusted was created to prevent deaths of children after a number of children were killed by overhead doors over a number of years. Anyone that doesn't keep their door properly adjusted and installed, whose door kills or maims some kid, can be subject to prosecution if a federal prosecutor decides to make an issue out of it.

I always take a photo of those eyes when they are mounted above the door or opener like that; or when they are mounted above the old limit of 6-inches, and then I record the fact they are mounted above six inches in my report and advise that they be moved to either side of the overhead door at a height no less than 4-inches and no higher than 6-inches off the garage floor.

In the case of the ones mounted like that, I go the extra step of stating very clearly that whoever mounted them up there has violated the law; and that if the door maims or kills the owner's, or some neighbor's, kid; because those eyes are mounted up there like that, whoever owns the home at the time could be subject to criminal prosecution under Federal Law.

That last little bit is intended a little bit of an incentive for the buyer to get that corrected ASAP, whether by the seller or himself.



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