To be eligible for the on/off switch, drivers must meet at least one of four criteria: They must transport infants riding in rear-facing infant seats in the front passenger seat; must transport children ages 1 to 12 in the front passenger seat; cannot change their customary driving position and keep 10 inches between the center of the steering wheel and the center of their breastbone; or have a medical condition that outweighs the risk of hitting their head, neck or chest in a crash if the air bag is turned off.
An owner who wants deactivation for any of the above reasons should describe the reason in a letter and send it to: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Attention: Air Bag Deactivation Requests, 400 7th St. S. W., Washington, D.C. 20590. Deactivation is not available for other reasons. The request also can be faxed to (202) 366-3443. Brochures are also available through the AAA Club, Department of Motor Vehicles, automobile dealers, and the NHTSA's Web site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov.