WASHINGTON (AP) - The government says new passenger vehicles will be required to provide head protection in side crashes for 2013 model-year vehicles.
The regulations, announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are designed to reduce deaths and injuries of motorists who are struck by another car or truck along the vehicle's side.
The safety upgrades, which have been under review since 2004, could save more than 300 lives and prevent more than 400 serious injuries annually through the installation of side air bags that protect the torso and side curtain air bags that guard the head.
The auto industry has voluntarily agreed to install side air bags in all vehicles by September 2009 and the safety equipment is becoming more widely available.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)