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GM STUDIES CAR-DEER CRASHES FOR AIR BAG EFFECTIVENESS

 GM STUDIES CAR-DEER CRASHES FOR AIR BAG EFFECTIVENESS
 WARREN, Mich., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The 300,000-plus car-deer


crashes recorded in the United States each year pose a special problem for air bag-equipped automobiles that must be able to detect in milliseconds if a crash is severe enough to require the protection of the airbag supplemental inflatable restraint. Michigan alone records more than 48,000 car-deer accidents annually.
 "As many motorists have learned, not every vehicle collision requires the deployment of the air bag system," said Dr. David Viano, principal research scientist at the General Motors Biomedical Science Department. "The system must be sensitive enough to quickly detect if the collision that is occurring will be severe enough that the occupants need the extra protection that the air bag system provides.
 "GM cars and trucks equipped with air bags utilize sophisticated sensors and triggering logic so that the system is less likely to be activated by conditions that don't require the bag. That is the gray area in which many car-deer impacts occur," said Viano. "Striking a deer running across a highway is certainly an unnerving occurrence, but usually not one that requires an air bag deployment to protect front seat occupants from injury.
 At the GM Proving Ground in Milford, Mich., low-speed crash tests are conducted with styrofoam and sand bags to simulate deer. In addition, rough road tests also help verify that the GM system won't trigger on harsh road surfaces or off-road when an air bag deployment is not needed.
 Biomedical research and accident data analysis have helped GM set an impact speed threshold for air bag deployment higher than many manufacturers, lowering the risk and expense of unnecessary deployments while providing protection to occupants when they really need it.
 Car-deer crashes are common across the state of Michigan, according to the Automobile Club of Michigan, with most occurring during the fall or early winter. The controlling factors are food availability, weather, size of the deer herd and traffic volumes.
 GM has used as many as 48 different sets of conditions as a basis for designing its air bag systems.
 "The air bag is the most high-tech safety feature in the automobile for occupant protection," said Viano. "As in the car-deer simulations, our tests go well beyond the federal requirements and we've done more than other manufacturers in terms of research, testing and development to ensure appropriate performance."
 For the 1993 model year, General Motors offers air bags on 24 car lines, including six where both driver and passenger air bags are available.
 -0- 11/9/92
 /CONTACT: Dick Thompson of General Motors, 313-986-5721/
 (GM) CO: General Motors Corporation ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:


KE-SM -- DE003 -- 8536 11/09/92 09:09 EST
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Date:Nov 9, 1992
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