Side impact air bags have undoubtedly saved many lives. They were specifically designed to protect the torso from impacting the crinkle zone of the door and in some cases, they can extend all the way down to the knee. Mercedes has put a new twist on the side impact airbag by designing one that provides protection for the pelvis.
It may sound like a bad joke, but according to their press release from the North American International Auto Show, both the 2009 C-class and 2010 E-class will be equipped with the new airbag system. Of course, the side curtains and side impact will also be there, but these will offer a little extra protection for the center point of your body.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said they have never seen or heard of anyone specifically designing an airbag to protect the pelvic girdle. While many vehicles have large enough airbags to cover most of the body above the legs, this is still an industry first.
Whether or not the pelvic airbags will make a difference in a collision has yet to be tested, but the fact that the 2009 Mercedes E-class was chosen as one of the IIHS Top Safety Picks could be a good clue.