Understanding Side Air Bags Ballston Spa NY

Since there are currently no federal requirements for side air bags in vehicles (as there are with front air bags), the federal government leaves it up to automotive manufacturers to decide whether to offer them and how much to charge for them. Automakers also determine what type of air bags to use, which models to offer them in, where to locate them within the vehicle, and which seating positions they will protect. While there is general agreement that side air bags are a viable safety technology, the absence of federal oversight for side air bags means that all automakers are not working from a single consistent standard for design and performance.

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Understanding Side Air Bags

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Since there are currently no federal requirements for side air bags in vehicles (as there are with front air bags), the federal government leaves it up to automotive manufacturers to decide whether to offer them and how much to charge for them. Automakers also determine what type of air bags to use, which models to offer them in, where to locate them within the vehicle, and which seating positions they will protect. While there is general agreement that side air bags are a viable safety technology, the absence of federal oversight for side air bags means that all automakers are not working from a single consistent standard for design and performance.

Side air bags can protect the head, the chest, or both, depending on the design. The Web site for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, www.safercar.gov) provides a complete list of automakers that offer side air bags, along with details on the various types offered.

Protecting the head
Air bags that protect the head use a curtain or tubular design. Both designs typically deploy from the roofline in a downward motion, covering the majority of the window, and sometimes the entire window. They offer head protection only to occupants who are tall enough so that their heads would impact the window in a crash, and only to those seated adjacent to where the air bag deploys (not those seated in the middle). While vehicles with head protection air bags always provide protection for at least the front-seat passengers, they do not always cover second- and/or third-row passengers. To learn more about air bags that protect during rollovers, read "New Safety Technology: Rollover Air Bags." ...

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