THE AIR-BAG-SAFETY SAGA

A DEVICE THAT HAS SAVED MANY LIVES HAS A LETHAL PROBLEM. NO ONE AGREES ON HOW BEST TO SOLVE IT

Amid the growing public concern over the mortal danger of air bags, it may be hard to imagine anyone's standing up and declaring that they are among the most effective safety devices ever developed for cars and trucks. Yet that is just what auto-safety experts like Ralph Hoar believe. "The debate over air bags has always been distorted," argues Hoar, a consultant in Arlington, Virginia. "Air bags have been sold as the silver bullet that will save you or the lead one that will kill you. They have been oversold and demonized."

Those demons have been running rampant in recent weeks....

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