A Survey of Automotive Occupant Restraint Systems: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Our Current Problems 690243
In recent years, automotive occupant restraint system development has gained impetus, stimulated, in part, by new federal standards. But in the resolution of the basic question of whether automobiles should be equipped with restraints, many new problems have arisen, including, ironically, some brought on by regulation. While there is little doubt that restraint systems can provide the single most important contribution to occupant protection, such restraint systems remain useless unless adequately installed and properly worn.
Current problems involve not only what concepts provide most promise for future restraint systems, but diverse and often conflicting industry and governmental opinion about what are the best interests of the motoring public. Restraints are still not provided in buses, trucks, and utility vehicles. In addition, the problems of child and infant restraints and restraints for retrofit in older vehicles remain unresolved. The systems approach, while often alleged, is seldom effectively utilized. This paper surveys the present status of automotive occupant restraint systems and suggests how current problems may influence future design.