While sensors used to detect front end collisions to deploy air bags are highly reliable, they involve using multiple sensors mounted in the crush zone and have difficulty meeting the sensor requirements for small vehicles such as minivans. A sensor is presented which deals with these drawbacks by employing a novel method of gas damping coupled with a spring mass system. Test results are shown which demonstrate the ability to tailor the degree of damping in the sensor. The theory and test results are presented which show how this sensor is able to react to the crash signal more quickly, a feature enabling its application in non crush zone areas and in vehicles requiring unusually fast reaction times. Its response curve, which provides filtering of short duration inputs, is also discussed. It is this aspect of its performance which can possibly result in a single sensor system meeting the performance requirements for the US market.