Very few vehicles are currently sold in Australia withside air bags fitted as standard equipment although they are offered as an option by many manufacturers. So are they really worth the extra money?
The US insurance industry suggests that they certainly do improve the chances of a vehicle’s occupants surviving a side impact. After conducting a number of crash tests on various mini-vans and the Toyota Prius the insurance industry rated all the vehicles fitted without side air bags as poor – the worst rating in a four level score.
The same vehicles, when fitted with side air bags improved considerably in the ratings and the Prius reached the top of the rating system.