Following is a General Motors (GM) statement regarding NHTSA announcement of advanced air bag rulemaking. It may be attributed to Harry Pearce, Vice Chairman, General Motors Corporation.

The new advanced air bag rule reflects a thorough, comprehensive and scientific approach that will significantly improve vehicle occupant safety. More importantly, GM welcomes the rule’s new testing and injury criteria that consider drivers and passengers of all sizes. In particular, the rule will provide outstanding safety benefits while minimizing the risk to children, small-stature adults and out-of-position occupants. We applaud the NHTSA and the Department of Transportation for adopting a rule that can help benefit children and other occupants.

Throughout the rulemaking process, important issues were raised about unbelted vehicle occupants. It is important to note that air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not substitute for them. Seat belts remain the primary and most effective safety system in all vehicles. Progress in safety belt usage has been made in recent years, but more must be done to increase belt usage. We all need to encourage everyone to use safety belts all the time and to make sure that children are properly restrained on every trip. We encourage all interested parties to join together to support and undertake effective programs toward universal safety belt and proper child safety seat use. Bold new steps may be necessary. GM pledges to assist in these efforts.