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Smaller Women Victimized By Auto Air Bags

Sat., Oct. 26, 1996, midnight

Eighteen drivers have been killed by air bags in the last six years in low-speed accidents they otherwise should have survived, and all but three have been smaller women, government accident data show.

Fifteen of the 18 drivers killed since 1990 were women between 4 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 5 inches in height, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

“These adults would have lived if the air bag had not been there,” said Lee Franklin of the highway safety agency’s research and development office.

Most of the public and government focus on air bag hazards has been on what to do about the deaths of at least 28 children and infants from passenger-side air bags.

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