Just when you thought automakers couldn’t shove any more inflatables into a vehicle’s cabin, General Motors has introduced yet another new airbag. The company’s new front center airbag is basically designed to keep the driver in place during a solo far-side impact, as well as prevent occupants from bouncing off of one another if there is more than one person in the car. The new device is set to be introduced as standard equipment on models like the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia with power seats beginning in the 2013 model year. The tethered, tube-shaped airbag deploys from the right side of the driver’s seat and positions itself in the center of the vehicle.
GM says that the company’s analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data revealed that far-side impact crashes accounted for 11 percent of the belted front occupant fatalities in non-rollover incidents between 2004 and 2009, and that those deaths represented 29 percent of all fatalities in all side-impact crashes.
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