New passenger vehicles will be required to provide head protection for side crashes in 2013 model-year vehicles, the government said recently.
According to Forbes
, the safety upgrades, which have been under review since 2004, could save more than 300 lives and prevent more than 400 serious injuries annually through the installation of side air bags that protect the torso and side curtain air bags that guard the head.
The regulations, announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are designed to reduce deaths and injuries of motorists who are struck by another car or truck along the vehicle's side.
The auto industry has voluntarily agreed to install side air bags in all new passenger vehicles by September 2009 and the safety equipment, including air bags that provide more protection in rollover accidents, is becoming more widely available.
Under the government's plan, automakers will be required to phase-in the head protection in 20 percent of passenger vehicles in the 2010 model year, 50 percent by the 2011 model year, 75 percent in 2012 vehicles and in all passenger vehicles for 2013 models. All new passenger vehicles will need to comply by September 2012, Forbes