Here’s something that had never occurred to me: There is no airbag for the rear, center seat passenger. Turn out this fact DID occur to the bright sparks at Toyota, and they have decided to address the issue by making the world’s first rear seat center airbag. This is, by and large, a pretty good idea. Sure, very rarely are cars fully stuffed with people and in need of airbags, but sort of like a motorcycle helmet, when you need a rear seat center airbag you’re sure glad it’s there.
Airbags are one of the few, if not the only safety device currently on cars that were not first developed for racing se. This hindrance aside, they have proven in most cases to be a Godsend. Not only have they saved countless lives in frontal impacts, but the advent of side curtain airbags have done wonders in helping people survive side impact crashes. Recently several manufacturers have started including airbags for rear seat passengers mounted into the seatbacks of the front seats. So, the last man left alone, so to speak, was the person in the center rear seat.
Enter Toyota, whose new Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbag is fitted in a large, fixed, rear-seat center console in the roof, and will make its debut in an unnamed Toyota model to be launched in Japan later this year. OK then, everyone is now, er soon, covered.