Naturally, safety is a top priority for both automakers and consumers alike. It's also of paramount concern to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, which is the government body that sets standards for automobile safety here in the States. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA is currently drafting up new legislation that would make side curtain airbags more robust.
Little known fact: fleet customers could receive a $145 discount by opting not to have side airbags in certain vehicles from General Motors. That doesn't sound like a lot of money, but when, for example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car purchased 66,000 Chevy Impalas sans curtains, the company saved nearly $10 million. It's not like omitting side curtain airbags is illegal, either, as the safety equipment isn't mandatory. Further, similar vehicles from other OEMS don't have side airbags as standard equipme