AUTOS: Air Bags: Will They Ever Sell?

I studied the technical data, and then I made up my mind that air bags work. But they cannot be imposed instantly on people.

Thus did Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman Jr. explain an odd-sounding ruling last week. He admitted that air bags—which inflate instantly upon impact of a collision, keeping the driver and front-seat riders from being hurled against the dashboard or windshield—might save an estimated 12,000 lives a year if installed on all U.S.-made cars. Nonetheless, he refused to order such universal installation. Instead, Coleman asked the car companies to outfit 500,000 cars with air bags during...

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