47 percent of people killed in rollover accidents are ejected from their vehicles, according to a Reuters report. Ejections from rollover accidents account for most fatalities. Most ejections occur through the side windows of vehicles.
Rollover accidents account for one third of all crash fatalities. That is about 10,000 deaths per year over the past 10 years, making them the deadliest of all motor vehicle accidents. This is one of the most important reasons why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has come up with new air bag requirements.
The NHTSA is requiring manufacturers to enlarge side curtain air bags, make them stay inflated longer and make them deploy in all types of serious accidents. These new requirements are designed to save lives, by creating another barrier to ejection from vehicles, even when windows are down or when drivers and passengers are not wearing their seat belts.
In 2013 the new air bags will begin to appear in vehicles and be in full implementation by 2017. The new air bag rules will apply to vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less. The implementation of these new air bags will cost the manufacturer an average of $31 per vehicle, but it is predicted that the new rule will save an average of 373 lives and 476 serious injuries per year.