Inflatable Seat Belts?

Ford Motor Company has announced that  is bringing to market the world’s first automotive inflatable seat belts, combining attributes of traditional seat belts and air bags to provide an added level of crash safety protection for rear seat occupants.

“Ford’s rear inflatable seat belt technology will enhance safety for rear-seat passengers of all ages, especially for young children who are more vulnerable in crashes,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environmental and Safety Engineering.  “This is another unique family technology that builds on our safety leadership, including the most top safety ratings of any automaker.”  

Ford will introduce inflatable rear seat belts on the next-generation Ford Explorer, which goes into production next year for the North American market.  Over time, Ford plans to offer the technology in vehicles globally.

Ford explains that in everyday use the inflatable belts operate like conventional seat belts and are safe and compatible with infant and children safety car and booster seats.  In Ford’s research, more than 90 percent of those who tested the inflatable seat belts found them to be similar to or more comfortable than a conventional belt because they feel padded and softer.  That comfort factor could help improve the 61 percent rear belt usage rate in the U.S., which compares to 82 percent usage by front seat passengers, according National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

Safety enhancements such as these help understand while traffic deaths in motor vehicle crashes continue to decline despite the fact that there are more and more vehicles on the road and more miles are being driven.

Thanks to Georgia Injury Law Blog for being this information to my attention.