Ford to offer SUV rollover
How the new rollover protection works.
DETROIT, Jan. 12, 2000 – Ford Motor Company will be the first to
feature rollover sensors and special curtain rollover air bags on
its sport utility vehicles during the 2001 model year.
“Ford scientists and engineers have been working hard to provide our
truck customers with more potentially lifesaving features,” says
Helen Petrauskas, vice president, Environmental and Safety
Engineering. “We’ve looked at the most threatening current driving
conditions and developed new technologies to improve the protection
for our SUV drivers and their families.”
During the 2001 model year, Ford will offer optional new rollover
sensors and inflatable side curtains on its SUVs. This breakthrough
is made possible by the latest inflatable curtain technologies as
well as advanced sensors that measure the amount of horizontal
vehicle “roll” or tilt. The roll information is processed by a
central control module that can trigger necessary rollover curtain
bags in a fraction of a second – as quickly as 130 milliseconds.
The side curtain air bags will deploy through the SUV’s
headliner trim, helping to protect passengers in both the front- and
The curtain air bags are designed to remain inflated for up to six
seconds – approximately the time it takes an average vehicle to roll
over a few times. The new air bags will have fixed attachment
points at the front and rear ends of the curtain to help prevent
occupants from being thrown out of the vehicle during rollovers.
The new inflatable curtain system also will help reduce the risk of
head injuries for SUV occupants involved in side impacts.
“SUVs are as safe or safer in protecting their occupants from
serious injuries or fatalities as like-size passenger cars,” says
Petrauskas. “But they tend to be involved in different types of
Approximately half of all SUV fatalities involve rollover, and these
deaths often involve occupants being ejected from the vehicle. In
fact, occupants thrown from the vehicle are up to ten times as
likely to be killed or seriously hurt than occupants who remain
“Safety belt use is the most important factor in preventing these
tragic circumstances, and occupants are best protected in SUV
rollovers when they buckle up,” Petrauskas explains. “However, our
new inflatable curtain system will help protect occupants even when
they don’t use available restraints.”
Ford also is doing its part to help remind people to use safety
belts with the new BeltMinderTM system.
BeltMinderTM uses a safety belt usage sensor located in
the belt buckle to determine whether the driver is buckled up. If a
driver is unbelted when the vehicle is in motion, a red light in the
instrument panel illuminates, and a chime briefly sounds every 30
seconds for five minutes or until the driver fastens his or her
safety belt. The company started putting the
BeltMinderTM system on its 2000-model cars last year as
standard equipment – and at no cost to customers.
“We’ve tried to cover all the bases,” Petrauskas says. “This safety
package will make our SUV lineup the most technologically advanced
in the world.”