For side airbag systems it is necessary to measure the acceleration within a time of less than 3 ms in order to inflate the side airbag in time. A new generation of side airbag sensors that uses a linear accelerometer is presented. The evaluation circuit includes amplification, temperature coefficient compensation, two wire unidirectional current interface, and a zero-offset compensation. The sensing element for the measurement of acceleration is a surface micromachined accelerometer. In order to minimise the production costs the surface micromachined sensor element and the corresponding evaluation ASIC are packaged into a standard PLCC28 housing. For the entire function only few external components are necessary. During the power-on cycle an internal selftest is carried out and the result is transmitted to the airbag control unit. Most important results of the characterisation are presented.