• Short Summary

    August 15, 1973 is a date heavily ringed on the calendars of Detroit's motor manufacturers.?

  • Description

    August 15, 1973 is a date heavily ringed on the calendars of Detroit's motor manufacturers. That is the deadline for equipping all new cars in the United States with front seat passive restraint.

    From that date drivers and front seat passengers should be able to walk away from a 30 mph (48 kph) head-on collision without injury. By 1975, the U.S. Traffic Safety Administration hopes to raise the figure to 50 mph (80 kph).

    Demands for higher standards of safety and pollution control have forced car makers in recent years in the United States and other manufacturing countries, to gear up their research programmes.

    Today (26 April) it was reported that the British Government is to start work soon on a joint project with the U.S. authorities to develop a safe, quiet and pollution-free family car.

    This film report on safety research was compiled by the NATO Information Service from material shot by manufacturers and research organisations.

    SYNOPSIS: With ever-increasing pressure from governments concerned at mounting accident figures, motor manufacturers throughout the world have been devoting more and more time and money to accident research. No-where has the activity been more frenzied than in the United States. Car makers there have been given a deadline - August 1973 -- to produce safety devices that will automatically prevent all injury to front-seat occupants in head-on crashes at town-driving speeds.

    Dummies like these containing electronic sensors can provide more information than any human survivor of a similar accident.

    Unfortunately, crashing cars like this is expensive.

    So at the research divisions of the big manufacturers, special test beds have been erected to simulate the effects on car occupants of crashes at various speeds.

    This dummy is wearing a single-strap seat-belt -- the first kind of safety-harness widely available to motorists. As the test shows, the belt is not enough to prevent possible head injury.

    So other, safer seat belts were devised. But accident research has also shown that many people don't wear safety belts.

    This is why the controversial regulations soon to be introduced in the United States demand passive restraint - same system that requires no action by the car occupant. The system most likely to succeed seems to be the air cushion that inflates on impact....But there are still many problems to be solved, both in safety devices and in designing whole cars that are radically safer than those we are familiar with so far. Increasingly, governments and manufacturers are working together to tackle these pressing problems.

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