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Will Inflatable Seat Belts Help Prevent Auto Accident Injuries?

Will Inflatable Seat Belts Help Prevent Auto Accident Injuries?

Ford Motor Company thinks so. According to CNN, Ford has announced that it will begin equipping some vehicles with inflatable seat belts to help prevent injuries in automobile accidents.

The inflatable rear seat belts will be available in the next Ford Explorer. They will become available in other vehicles at a later time. The inflatable seat belts contain a an air bag that’s folded like an accordion within the seat belt. During a collision, the bag fills with air.

Ford says that the seat belt’s increased diameter helps to spread the force of impact across a wide surface area, thereby dampening the pressure and reducing the risk of injury. The inflatable safety belt should also help to limit traumatic brain injuries as well as neck and chest injuries by keeping passengers in the upright seated position.

Paul Mascarenas, vice president of engineering and product development at Ford, said, “Ford is pioneering inflatable seat belt technology to help enhance crash safety protection.

The belts inflate in just 40 milliseconds in the event of a crash. Cold compressed gas inflates the bag within the belt. The belt remains inflated for several seconds before air is slowly dispersed through pores in the air bag. The belts were developed over a period of several years with “extensive trial and error,” according to Ford.

Sue Cischke, vice president of sustainability, environmental and safety engineering at ford, said, “This is another unique family technology that builds on our safety leadership.

Ford was the first automobile manufacturing company to introduce the seat belt in 1955. Since then, however, Ford has been criticized for some safety issues. In the 1990s, for instance, auto safety advocates criticized the Ford Explorer because of its high incidence of rollovers.

Perhaps these new inflatable seat belts will mark the beginning of a new reputation for Ford Motor Company.

“It’s a better form of seat belt. There’s no doubt about it. The advantage is similar to an airbag, in that it spreads the crash forces over a larger area,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.

According to Ford, research shows that the inflatable seat belts not only offer enhanced safety but they’re also just as comfortable or more comfortable than standard seat belts. The auto company hopes that the improved comfort will motivate more back seat passengers to use seat belts. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that only 61 percent of rear seat passengers use seat belts, compared to 82 percent of passengers in the front seat.

“Part of the slowness in getting inflatable belts into the market has been the low rate of belt use in the past,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Lund hopes that the inflatable seat belts will encourage more people to buckle up.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced Georgia auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Call Neff Injury Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.

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