General Motors congratulates the Technical Working Group on their submission today of a comprehensive list of standardized test procedures for side impact air bags. Today's action is the culmination of a unique, year- long collaboration among the automotive and insurance industries, U.S. and Canadian governments, restraint suppliers and academia, and is in response to concerns initially raised by GM.
GM's leadership in the area of side impact air bags is well documented. The 1997 Cadillac Seville was the first domestic model to include a side impact air bag. For the 2000 model year, GM offers them on 17 vehicle lines. Every one of these side impact air bags was designed and engineered in accordance with our strict criteria that they must first minimize the threat of injury to children, while providing protection for adult passengers.
GM's side impact air bags meet stringent internal test procedures involving 3 and 6 year old child dummies as well as small adult females dummies in out-of-position seating conditions where the occupant may be in close proximity to the side impact air bag at the moment of deployment. Most of GM's current vehicles equipped with side impact air bags already meet the newly established standardized test procedures. In addition, our new side air bags, such as those found in the 2001 Saturn S-series and L-series already meet the new test criteria.
Although GM's side air bag testing and design comprehends the risk to child passenger safety, there is no question that the safer place for a child passenger is in the rear seat, properly secured. For example, a 3 year-old child should be in a rear seat, properly restrained in a forward-facing child seat; a 6 year-old should be in a rear seat, properly restrained in a belt- positioning booster seat.