New NHTSA Regulations Could Lead to More Effective Side Airbags

When it comes to the safety of our loved ones, compromise is not an option. This is especially true when it comes to buying a new automobile. According to the NHTSA, about 400 lives could be saved every year by improving how our side-airbags deploy. Thankfully they are working on a bill to make such a change mandatory.

After conducting some tests that studied how and where side-airbags provide protection, the NHTSA was able to conclude that if automakers would extend the area of coverage and the length of time the airbag stays inflated, 402 lives could be saved every year. The new design would also prevent 302 severe injuries that could lead to brain, neck or spine problems.

The engineers at the NHTSA are basing their estimates on the new airbag design being able to reduce the number of passengers ejected from the side windows during or following a rollover.

The price to incorporate this technology into new vehicles is listed at around $54 per vehicle, with a slight variance depending on the size and number of windows. The new law would require 20% of every major manufacturer's fleet to be in compliance by 2014. Every vehicle would be required to comply by 2017.

No word on how long the legislation would take to be put into effect.

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