Here’s an unsettling fact about cars equipped with air bags: they don’t always deploy when drivers — or regulators — expect them to.
Thirteen people have died in crashes involving older GM cars with defective ignition switches. In each of those crashes, and in others in which occupants were injured, the air bags failed to deploy even after striking trees, guard rails or other objects.
Puzzled by these failures, federal safety regulators told Congress last month they believed the cars’ air bags should have worked for up to 60 seconds after the engine stalled. But GM has since told the Associated Press that regulators were mistaken: the cars only had enough reserve power to sense a crash and deploy the air bags for 150 milliseconds after the switch malfunctioned and cut off the car’s power.Read Article