Drivers beware: Your air bag may not deploy - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Drivers beware: Your air bag may not deploy

Updated:
Here's an unsettling fact about cars equipped with air bags: They don't always deploy when drivers expect them to.

Thirteen people have died in crashes involving older GM cars with defective ignition switches. In each of those crashes, and in others in which occupants were injured, the air bags failed to deploy even after striking trees, guard rails or other objects.

Federal safety regulators told Congress last month they believed the cars' air bags should have worked for up to 60 seconds after the engine stalled. But GM has since told The Associated Press that regulators were mistaken: The cars only had enough reserve power to sense a crash and deploy the air bags for 150 milliseconds after the switch malfunctioned and cut off the car's power.

General Motors is recalling 2.6 million small cars to fix the ignition switches. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now scrambling to find out from other automakers and air bag suppliers how their air bags will function in similar situations.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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