Earlier accident studies have shown that a rigid steering column represents a special danger to the driver. Since the 1960s there have been various designs to reduce the risk of injury. Steering columns today have a joint so that they can yield in an impact; newer safety steering columns are able to "absorb" impact energy. A special case in point was the “procon-ten” system, which pulled the steering column and steering wheel forward, away from the driver.
Since the introduction of the airbag, the steering column’s job has become more complex. It has to supplement the protective potential of the safety belt and the airbag. Telescoping linkages and additional joints largely uncouple steering wheel movement from bulkhead deformation. If the impact does not exceed a certain severity, the steering wheel and the airbag remain in a defined position in front of the driver. An integrated sliding mechanism with a damping function reduces the loads on the chest and head to the extent technically feasible. These elements are a good supplement to the belt force limiters.