From: Nate Nagel on
On 05/09/2010 07:13 PM, Arif Khokar wrote:
> On 5/8/2010 6:20 PM, Larry G wrote:
>> If you took a poll of the public asking if air bags should be
>> optional extras instead of mandatory - I'm betting that the public
>> would pretty thoroughly not agree.
> But if you're shorter than 5' 3", then in order to drive the car, you
> have to sit relatively close to the steering wheel. When the airbag
> deploys in that case, it can cause severe injury or kill the driver.
> The main reason behind this problem is that the federal government
> requires that airbags be able to protect an *unbelted* 50th
> percentile size male dummy in a frontal collision (see FMVSS 208).
> This necessitates a higher force of deployment as well as deployment
> for relatively low collision speeds in order to comply with that
> mandate. Also, studies haven't shown a net benefit for airbags in
> terms of morbidity nor mortality.

I don't believe that that is still the case - that is, the bit about the
unbelted 50th %ile male. However, to the best of my knowledge, it *was*
true up until not all that long ago.

GM has "solved" this problem by simply arranging the seat, pedals, and
steering wheel so that the driver has to choose between having the
steering wheel too far away (for proper "reach" for driving, likely not
for safety in an airbag deployment event) or having the pedals too
close, presumably figuring that the former is what most drivers will choose.


replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.