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CNN Today

How Do Automakers Test Vehicles for Safety?

Aired August 25, 2000 - 2:35 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you now back to the General Motors proving ground in Michigan, where CNN's Ed Garsten has been reporting all day on auto safety testing, and he's about to show us more simulations of what happens in a real-world crash -- Ed.

ED GARSTEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Natalie. You know, earlier today we showed you a full vehicle crashing into a wall to test the safety devices and what would happen to occupants in a car in an accident. But you know, that's pretty expensive. You don't always have to use an entire vehicle. This is another way of doing it, and here to explain it is safety engineer Kadie Davis.

Kadie, what are we going to see?

KADIE DAVIS, SAFETY ENGINEER, GENERAL MOTORS: We're going to see a sled test, Ed. This is a test device that we use, like you said, so that we don't have to use a full barrier vehicle. And what we're really simulating is what's happening to the occupant, how are they responding to the elements of the interior of the vehicle.

It's cost-effective, it's rapid-turnaround, certainly as you saw this one. When we do a barrier test, you've got one opportunity. We can swap things out in this. We can change air belts -- the belts, the air bags, and things like that, and evaluate them as we go from test to test.

GARSTEN: And I think one thing we should point out when the folks see the test that the sled's not going to go -- be going forward this time. It'll be going backgrounds. How come?

DAVIS: That's correct. What we're actually doing here is simulating that portion of the occupant's movement once the vehicle has stopped moving, and the occupant wants to then move background. So the test is going to go backgrounds.

GARSTEN: All right, Kadie. I think they're ready to do the test, so why don't we back away and let it roll.

All right. Well, that only take a few milliseconds for that test, but it does take a few minutes to get the results, and we'll be back with those results in about five minutes -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. We had some video problems there, Ed. We look forward to hearing how it turned out. Thanks very much. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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