va. crash shines spotlight on air bags
In a rural car crash in calper county, crumpled metal and broken glass told him that he would soon ring the door bell of relatives and tell them the sad news.
On one side of the two cars lies a smashed red car.
On the driveway on the top of the mountain, on the other side is a crushed burgundy convertible.
Ambulances and fire engines were pulled to remove the bodies.
To Dawson\'s surprise, however, the two drivers had climbed out and were checking for damage.
Priscilla Van stillnant and Ronald E.
Woody II survived and recorded the March 12 accident on the national record book: it was clearly the first time two cars had used airbags.
\"These people are really lucky,\" Dawson said . \"
He told the two drivers that the airbag might have saved their lives. -
Especially Woody, who has no seat belt.
Both drivers said they had been injured but were not seriously injured.
Highway safety experts believe the results prove that they are 20-
This year, there was a struggle with the auto industry over whether the government should demand the use of airbags, which caused a stir in the Nixon, Carter and Reagan governments.
\"It\'s good to be stubborn,\" says Chuck Hurley, vice president of the insurance highway safety insurance Institute --
A research team that supports lobbying for airbags.
Federal law requires that, starting with 1990 models, almost all cars in the country have drivers.
Front two side airbags or automatic seat belts-seat occupants.
The request is expected to be extended to light trucks and vans later this year.
Industry experts expect airbags to become standard equipment due to buyer resistance to automatic seat belts.
The two cars in the carpeper County accident drove 35 miles an hour.
Vansteelant, 39, traveling east on Highway 640, said yesterday that she remembered the silver air bag that was inflated with a \"quick shot. . . .
It\'s a bump, but not a rough one, just like you used to jump on a mattress when you were a kid.
\"Because her door was crowded in, she climbed out of the passenger\'s side.
Police then accused her of driving away from the center line.
Vansteelant, who has agreed to appear in a public safety film about the Woody accident, said she believes \"they should let people watch the accident movie with airbags.
The 22-year-old Woody, who was driving west on Highway 640, did not remember the airbag being inflated, but \"there was no doubt that they were working. . . .
I haven\'t said enough to them.
He says he also uses seat belts now.
An air bag with harmless gas nitrogen inflates-twenty-
Seventh, prevent the driver or passenger from hitting the steering wheel or windshield.
They deflated almost immediately.
The bag is triggered by a sensor on the bumper.
Of the 0. 189 billion cars in the United StatesS.
There are almost two roads.
The insurance industry estimates that 5 million cars are equipped with airbags.
The new federal regulations will raise the number to 3.
3 million models before the end of 1990--
The vast majority only have airbags on the driver\'s side.
Woody bought his new car yesterday afternoon. -
A 1990-inch Chrysler LeBaron with a driver. side air bag.
Both cars were 1989 LeBarons. Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee A.
Iacocca, a long-lived opponent of airbags, has recently been transformed into air
Bag reason, show off the benefits of his car with a Culter crash at a press conference.
Consumer advocates recall that Iacocca and Ford Motor
S. President Henry Ford II personally lobbied the Nixon administration to kill the proposed air force.
Bag rules, think they will hurt American industry.
They attributed the change in Iacocca to the upcoming federal restraint requirement, which dates back to the Carter administration.
The Carter administration has put in place a rule that all new cars need air bags or automatic seat belts by September 1983, but the Reagan administration threw it away before it came into effect. In 1983, the U. S.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Reagan administration had no reason to reject Carter airlines. bag rule.
The next year, then-
Transportation Minister Elizabeth Hanford Dole has announced that the government will need some sort of automatic collision protection ---
Such as air bags or automatic seat belts--
Except for two countries. In America\'s thirtiesS.
Mandatory seat belt promulgated by population-use laws.
Although seat belts are required in 33 states and Colombian districts, this is not enough to comply with Dole\'s orders, so automatic collision protection takes effect in the 1990 model year.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, led by Public Citizen president and Carter, Joan clebrook, said her team estimates that 40,000 people have been killed in the past five years due to air delaysbag rule.
\"It\'s a great success story, but it takes 20 years,\" she said.