GM analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System database found that far-side impact crashes, which the front center airbag primarily addresses, accounted for 11% of the belted front occupant fatalities in non-rollover impacts between 2004 and 2009. These far-side fatalities, where the occupant is on the non-struck side of the vehicle, also represent 29% of all the belted front occupant fatalities in side impacts. "The front center air bag is not required by federal regulation, and no other air bag in passenger vehicles today offers the type of restraint and cushioning this air bag is designed to provide for front occupants," said Scott Thomas, senior staff engineer in GM's advanced restraint systems.
The front center air bag will be introduced on the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse midsize crossovers in the 2013 model year. The 2012 model year editions of these midsize crossovers have already received 5 star overall and side crash safety ratings from NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program.