How Crash Testing Works

Future Safety Improvements

It seems like air bags are sprouting from just about everywhere inside cars. And if they help keep your body from hitting hard objects during a collision, they're doing their job. But, there's always room for improvement. Right now (and in the foreseeable future) the emphasis on safety equipment is to make it "smarter."

The most recent advancement in safety equipment is known as a smart air bag. These air bags can deploy with different speeds and pressures, depending on the weight and seating position of the occupant, and also on the intensity of the crash.

Unfortunately, sometimes the deployment of an air bag can cause serious injury and even death to the driver or passenger. The new technology in advanced frontal air bag systems is designed to reduce this possible risk and to enhance the performance of the air bag itself. The implementation of this new technology is being taken seriously -- so much so that an amendment has been made to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208. This amendment requires that, over the next few years, manufacturers install this new air bag system in all their new model vehicles intended for sale, so that by September 1, 2005 all 2006 Model vehicles will be equipped with the system.

In the future, we'll see seatbelts that will also sense the weight and position of occupants and adjust the tension and maximum force accordingly.

Technology is enabling carmakers to design and manufacture safer, smarter vehicles, and consumers clearly endorse this trend as reflected in buying patterns. It may take wrecking lots of cars and crash test dummies, but the information gained from automotive crash tests means you and your loved ones may survive an automobile accident with little or no injury.