GM recall reveals gaps in air bag knowledge

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(AP) General Motors’ recent recall of 2.6 million small cars has exposed gaps in the government’s knowledge about air bags — and could lead to more regulations.

Thirteen people have died in crashes involving older GM cars with defective ignition switches. In each of those crashes, the air bags failed to deploy after the engine stalled.

Federal safety regulators told Congress last month they believed the cars’ air bags should have worked for up to 60 seconds.

But GM tells The Associated Press that the cars only had enough reserve power to sense a crash and deploy the air bags for a fraction of a second.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency says it’s now contacting automakers and suppliers to find out how their air bags would function in similar situations.

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