Auto and Road User Journal
February 1, 1997|
(U.S. and Canada)
Fax: (360) 335-6402
President Clinton Unveils New Universal Child Seat Attachment System to Make Installation Safer, Easier
NHSTA Announces Comprehensive Plan to Improve Air Bag Technology and Reduce Air Bag Dangers
Lime-Yellow Fire Trucks Safer Than Red
Coping with Driver Fatigue
Maryland Man Amazed
Drivers Voice Support for Zero Tolerance, Graduated Licensing
Insurance Institute Publishes Vehicle Death Rate Comparisons for 1990-94
Improving Highways for Older Driver Use
Insurance Institute Video Describes Steps to Airbag Safety
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NHTSA Issues Final Rule;
Proposes Two Changes
to Reduce Air Bag Dangers: DOT
Press Release, December 30, 1996
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today issued a final regulation and two proposed regulations in its continuing effort to preserve the benefits of air bags, while minimizing their danger to children and at-risk adults.
The two proposed regulations include plans for the depowering of air bags and procedures for deactivation of air bags in certain circumstances. In a continuation of the administration's comprehensive approach, the final rule adopted today continues the automakers' option of installing cut-off switches in vehicles without a rear seat for children. There will be a 30-day comment period, shortened to expedite completion, for the proposals before the issuance of final rules.
"By the end of this year, air bags will have saved more than 1,700 lives, but we can and will do more to minimize their potential hazards. These proposals are the next step in the rapid execution of our comprehensive strategy to address the air bag issues of today and enhance car safety for the future, culminating in the smart systems which will appear in model year 1999," said NHTSA Administrator Ricardo Martinez, M.D.
Following is a summary of the regulatory actions announced today by NHTSA:
"Today's action is part of a multi-pronged strategy including a labeling proposal published in November and a forthcoming proposal that will mandate smart air bags starting in Model Year 1999," Dr. Martinez added.
"It is important to add that children age 12 and under should always ride in the back seat, buckled up, and away from the air bag. Regulatory actions will make tomorrow's air bags safer for children, but too many are at risk in the interim if parents do not insist children ride in the back seat," Dr. Martinez said.
NHTSA officials noted that, overall, air bags are working well and are responsible for an 11 percent reduction in driver fatalities in passenger cars, including a 30 percent reduction in fatalities in head-on crashes.
Consumers who have questions or concerns about air bags should contact the agency's toll-free Auto Safety Hotline at (800) 424-9393. For up-to-date information on air bag issues, contact NHTSA's World Wide Web site at: http:/www.nhtsa.dot.gov and click on the air bag icon. Comments on the rulemaking announced today should be sent by Feb. 5, 1997 to NHTSA, Technical Reference Division, Docket Numbers 74-14-107, 74-14-108, 74-14-109, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington D.C. 20590.