General Motors has announced that it will be offering the industry's first center-mounted airbags in select vehicles starting in 2013. The new airbag deploys from between the front seats and aims to protect drivers from side collisions on the passenger side but also provides additional protection to both the driver and passenger during side impacts or rollovers.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, far-side impact crashes accounted for 11 percent of occupant deaths in non-rollover accidents between 2004 and 2009 involving 1999 or newer models where the driver has their seat belt fastened. It also represents 29 percent of all belted front occupant fatalities from side impacts.
With these numbers in mind, GM developed the center-mounted airbag in collaboration with technology supplier Takata to step up safety measures for its future vehicles.
“The front center airbag has real potential to save lives in side crashes,” GM quotes Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its press release. “GM and Takata are to be commended for taking the lead in this important area.”
The new models expected to feature this center-mounted airbag include the 2013 Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUVs. Below is a video demo of the GM's industry first center-mounted airbag in action.