How many airbags is enough? General Motors is betting that there is still space inside cars for another: the new front-center airbag it announced today. The safety device will become standard on the 2013 Buick Enclave, and on 2013 Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia models fitted with power seats.
The new front-center airbag, developed in part with supplier Takata over the course of three years, deploys from the right-hand side of the driver’s seat. It is designed to provide a cushioning barrier between the driver and passenger during side-impact collisions. It also will help protect the driver during rollover or passenger-side impacts.
GM cites evidence from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that 29 percent of all belted occupant fatalities occur during side-impact collisions when the far side of the vehicle is impacted. The front-center airbag is reportedly the first of its kind and an industry exclusive.
The 2012 Enclave, Traverse, and Acadia already are rated Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and have received five stars in NHTSA crash testing. The crossovers all have dual-stage dual front airbags, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags.