July 24, 2007 If you don’t die as a result of age or illness, today’s sad reality is that you’re most likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident. Car manufacturers have been working hard to reduce trauma from accidents, building in crumple zones, safety cells and driver/passenger airbags to maximise protection for the precious living cargo they carry, and these measures have been effective in reducing deaths and serious injuries in front and rear collisions. Recent figures, however, show that nearly three quarters of serious side collisions still result in head and upper body injuries – and it’s these injuries that Toyota’s latest initiative aims to combat. By fitting side-impact airbags and curtain shield airbags to all Japanese passenger cars as standard, Toyota believes it can reduce deaths from side impacts by as much as 37% - a huge step towards making the road a safer place to be.

Toyota recently announced that, starting with new models to be launched shortly, all of its new passenger vehicle models in Japan would come standard with side-impact-reducing SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) side airbags for front seats and SRS curtain shield airbags.

When side collisions occur, an SRS side airbag built into the front seat deploys, reducing the risk of upper body injury for front seat occupants. Furthermore, SRS curtain shield airbags, located between the front pillars and the roof-side rails, deploy to the sides of all occupants’ heads to form a curtain-like barrier, reducing impact from the side windows, pillars and other internal objects, as well as from external objects such as telephone poles.

According to a study conducted in the United States, SRS side airbags and SRS curtain shield airbags reduced deaths from side collisions by 37%. In the case of Japan, 73% of serious side collisions result in injuries to the head and upper body.

In order to help lessen injuries in the event of a collision, Toyota has been equipping a wider range of vehicles with new airbags for some time, employing SRS side airbags for the Celsior launched in August 1996 and introducing the world’s first ever SRS curtain shield airbags for the Progrès launched in May 1998.

As a part of its efforts to realize sustainable mobility, Toyota intends to strengthen its traffic safety initiatives in the future through:

1) the development of even safer vehicles and technologies;

2) participation in the creation of a safe traffic environment; and

3) activities designed to educate people in traffic safety, thereby contributing to the complete elimination of traffic casualties, which can be viewed as the ultimate hope of a society that values mobility.