SIRC – Media Watch 20-04-99

Too Safe?

At the inquest into the death of Jennifer Reichardt this week the airbag of her Rover 400, the device designed to prevent collision with the windscreen, was cited as the most likely cause of her fatal head injury. The driver of the other vehicle, a 14 year old Opel Ascona, walked away from the accident with minor bruises. Although airbags have already been implicated in driving fatalities in the US, this is the first such incident in the UK. In a crash the airbag opens at speeds of up to 200 m.p.h. and it is believed that shorter drivers sitting closer to the dashboard may be more at risk. Tests are currently underway in Canada on devices that open more slowly.