NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


May 5, 2000

In 1996, the Safety Board asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to revise occupant crash protection standards to reflect real-world crashes. The Safety Board recommended that tests for passenger-side air bags reflect situations such as:

The revision to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208, "Occupant Crash Protection," appears to be responsive to the Board's recommendation.

I commend the Department of Transportation and NHTSA on the release of this important rule on advanced air bag technology. It addresses the issues and concerns identified in the Safety Board's 1996 accident investigation reports and the four-day public hearing on air bag safety that we held in 1997. As a result of this rule, automobiles manufactured in the future will have air bags that protect all occupants, including children, short-statured adults, elderly drivers, and unbelted occupants in high- and low-speed crashes.

We are particularly pleased that child-sized and short-statured female dummies will be used in crash test procedures and that tests will include real-life situations such as people who are too close to the air bag. Children are among those most at risk from air bag injuries and this new rule has a number of new tests and other requirements to help protect our youngest and most vulnerable passengers.

The DOT rulemaking process includes a thorough review of all available information and includes checks and balances to ensure that the public safety is well served.

I strongly support NHTSA's adoption of a 25 mph barrier crash test requirement for unbelted occupants and a 35 mph test for belted occupants. Implementation of this rule will help reduce the carnage on our nation's highways.

- 30 -

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100



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.