Airbags on the outside of a car? To most Americans, the idea of changing vehicle designs and adding exterior airbags to protect folks on foot sounds like a joke. It’s not. Long-anticipated regulations aimed at limiting deaths and injuries in 25-mph (40-km/h) vehicle-to-pedestrian impacts take effect next year in Europe and are expected in Japan by 2007, if not sooner. Ford concept SUV deploys pedestrian-protecting airbags in milliseconds. The Ford Motor Co. SUV pictured is only ...

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