D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

Full Bio →

Written by

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has appeared on legaladvice.com, themanifest.com, and vice.com.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

GM's new center-of-car airbag aims to protect in side impact collisions.
GM’s new center-of-car airbag aims to protect in side impact collisions. (pic by GM)

The safety advances ingrained into automobiles over the last fifty years have saved thousands of lives. They’re a large part of the reason that automotive fatalities have been on a decline, despite more drivers and miles driven every year.

It’s not everyday a dramatic advance in automotive safety is introduced. But General Motors believes saving more lives and preventing countless injuries may be possible from something as simple as adding another airbag to a place where there never has been one. Namely, right in between the passenger space in the front of the automobile.

GM is calling this a “front center” airbag. It will become standard equipment on the 2013 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia models that have power seats, but we expect it to expand throughout their line rapidly.

The airbag itself deploys from the drivers seat, and is shaped like a tube. Once called into action, it expands to fill the void within the center of a car’s front cabin. Thus drivers and passengers are protected from side impact collisions, not to mention hitting each other as projectiles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), side impacts are the second leading cause of death and serious injuries, trailing only frontal collisions. Think t-bone, but that’s exactly the type of crash – responsible for 11 percent of driver or front passenger deaths while wearing seat belts – are where these bags will prove beneficial.

Scott Thomas, senior staff engineer at GM said “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.”

The jury is still out on where this new feature will lower insurance rates. But if it performs in the real world as it has in crash testing, these new airbags will probably help to save lives. That almost always translates into lower costs on policy premiums.

After the break, check out the video demonstrating a side impact crashes without, and then with the new center-mounted airbag. The results are astonishing.