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A steering column may also perform the following secondary functions:
- energy dissipation management in the event of a frontal collision;
- provide mounting for: the multi-function switch, column lock, column wiring, column shroud(s), transmission gear selector, gauges or other instruments as well as the electro motor and gear units found in EPAS and SbW systems;
- offer (height and/or length) adjustment to suit driver preference
Modern vehicles are fitted with a steering lock which is an anti-theft device. It is fitted to the steering column usually below the steering wheel. The lock is combined with the ignition switch and engaged and disengaged either by a mechanical ignition key or electronically from the vehicles electronic control unit. These locks were introduced on many General Motor products in 1969 drastically reducing thefts of these GM models, and on Ford, Chrysler, and AMC products in 1970.
In the United States, steering columns are governed by several federal regulatory requirements, notably FMVSS 108, 114 and 208.
- "The Popular Science Anti-Car-Theft Device Competition" Popular Science", July 1969, p.70.
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