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Safety Agency Agrees: GM's Front-Center Airbag Has Real Benefits

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The airbag, which will be optional on the Acadia, deploys from the right-hand side of the driver’s seat during a serious side-impact collision from either side, chief engineer Sue Eckel said. In a serious side-impact, the barrier between the seats can prevent two occupants’ heads from knocking against each other.

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IIHS agrees.”We were very pleased to see GM doing this,” IIHS spokeswoman Anne Fleming said. “Very often that driver moves toward the center of the seat when the curtain comes down. … It’s a good thing to be cushioned on both sides.” Fleming said she couldn’t quantify the exact benefits of a center airbag to those driving solo, but she corroborated Eckel’s claim that the center airbag does some good.

“Cushioning is good in a crash, and it’s extra cushioning,” Flemming said. “These things are all degrees of protection.” The 2013 Acadia goes on sale late this year. There’s no word yet if the center airbag will become available on its corporate siblings, the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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