Consumer Affairs reports on a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that found among 35 airbag-related deaths, 25 of the victims were women between 4-feet 7-inches and 5-feet 4.9-inches. Eleven of these women were sitting too close to the steering wheel and two were so close they made contact with the wheel even as the airbag deployed. While airbags have no doubt saved countless lives, about 5% of women sit closer to the steering wheel than 9.84 inches, putting them at risk for internal injuries from the air bag that inflates at about 200 miles per hour as well as coming in contact with the windshield and dashboard.
The IIHS advises shorter women to sit father than 10 inches away from the steering wheel as measured from the center of the steering wheel to their chest. And if that is impossible, the nonprofit group recommends pedal extenders be installed which are available at an auto parts store.