A high percentage of new 2005 model year light vehicles offer advanced safety technology, a motor vehicle manufacturers' group said, citing a new government report.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2005 'Buying A Safer Car' publication shows that 75% of 2005 models are available with head protection side air bags, up nearly 50% from 2004; 71% of 2005 models are available with chest side air bags, up 11% from 2004, and up 145% from 2003; 90% of side air bags available in 2005 have been designed in accordance with the automobile industry's rigorous side air bag out-of-position design guidelines; 51% of 2005 models are available with electronic stability control, up 11% from 2004, and up 629% from 2003; and 76% of 2005 models have innovative seat belt reminder systems as standard equipment - implementation of this technology began with the 2004 model year.

"Consumers today have more choices available to them than ever when it comes to advanced automotive safety technology," said Robert Strassburger, vice president of vehicle safety and harmonisation for the trade association, consisting of BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.

"Increased public awareness of safety features, rapidly advancing technologies, and voluntary industry cooperation to improve vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility have made this all possible. Consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries."