As part of the ongoing Tesla Roadster safety certification, the NHSTA is giving the company an important air bag exemption. The waiver was given because the company was losing money and would "have to cancel its pending development of an electric-powered sedan, and would ultimately have to terminate its operations." Of course, the government would like to encourage the development of alternative fuel/electric vehicles and looking the other way on this is something they've deemed reasonable.
The exemption covers 625 vehicles this year and 3,200 vehicles over the next two years. The Tesla Roadster is still going to have standard airbags, but they will not meet the Advanced Air Bag standards. As a refresher, advanced airbags are ones that protect multiple types of passengers in the event of an accident. [AP via Google]