General Motors Corp. unveiled a new $10 million crash test facility this week that will help the automaker study rollover crashes.
The Detroit-based company also said that by 2012 it will make rollover-enabled air bags a standard feature on all of its retail vehicles. The air bags currently are used on 43 percent of GM’s trucks.
GM said it planned to perform 150 rollover tests next year at its Milford Proving Grounds in suburban Detroit to help it better understand rollover crashes, which account for less than 3 percent of all crashes but 25 percent of traffic deaths.
Engineers planned to demonstrate a rollover test during the facility’s unveiling, which was being attended by Nicole Nason, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
GM officials hope to find ways to keep people from being ejected in rollovers and develop sensors for rollover-enabled air bags, which can help reduce injuries and prevent ejections.
Rollover-enabled air bags stay open for five seconds compared with the basic head curtain air bag, which offers protection for about three-tenths of a second.
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