Automakers examine rollover safety
Work on a test to determine when side airbags should deploy in the event of an accident.

NEW YORK ( - Automakers are again contemplating a test that would encourage the wider use of side airbags designed to protect passengers during vehicle rollovers, according to a report Thursday.

The test would determine when side airbags would be deployed in the event of a vehicle rollover, a type of crash that happens disproportionately in SUVs, USA Today reported.

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Automakers, working through the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, met last year to address the issue but could not agree on uniform standards, the article said.

Currently, some vehicles are equipped with side airbags that deploy for the 6 seconds or longer needed to ensure safety in a rollover accident while some have side airbags that inflate only for the milliseconds needed to protect in a simple collision, according to the article.

Some side airbags are not even designed to deploy in a rollover accident, inflating only when the vehicle is hit from the side, the paper said.

Regulators are interested in safety devices that keep passengers from being ejected from vehicles during a rollover, the report said, noting that over half of the 10,000 people killed each year in rollover crashes are ejected from the vehicle. Side airbags that stay inflated longer can help prevent occupants from being thrown from a vehicle during a rollover.


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