NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


February 28, 1997

Washington, D.C. - Air bags and child passenger safety will be the topics at a public forum in Washington to be convened by the National Transportation Safety Board in March.

In announcing the forum, NTSB Chairman Jim Hall, noting the reports of air bag-related fatalities, particularly involving children, and rising public confusion and concern, said "it is time to set out the facts" on this issue. "Properly designed and utilized air bags can save lives," Hall stated, "but we need to ensure that air bags protect rather than pose a threat to children and persons of smaller stature." Hall noted that about 30 million cars with airbags that are not safe for some people are currently on the roads.

The NTSB forum will bring together recognized experts from government, industry, and safety/consumer groups to share information on the role of air bags in today's vehicles, the benefits and safety concerns, and improvements in child passenger transportation for the future.

Chairman Hall expressed the hope that, in addition to providing useful information to the public, the forum would help the Safety Board determine what further recommendations are needed to improve air bags and child passenger safety.

The forum will be held on March 17-20, at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.

The NTSB has long been concerned about vehicle occupant protection and has made numerous recommendations in its 30-year history regarding the design of seatbelts and child restraint systems, the enactment of mandatory restraint use laws, and the need to increase public education about the importance of restraint use. The Board's most recent study on these topics (September1996) resulted in a series of recommendations for improvement in the design of air bags, child restraint systems, and vehicle back seats.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency created by Congress to oversee and promote transportation safety. The Board fulfills its mission through the investigation of accidents, the conduct of safety studies and, ultimately, through the formulation of safety recommendations.

Media Contacts: NTSB Office of Public Affairs



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.