Ford Improves Safety With Inflatable Seat Belts

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Ford’s new inflatable rear passenger seat belt technology, which made its debut on the redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer, will be making its way to more Ford Motor Company models by next summer.

The next models to receive the technology will be the Ford Flex and several Lincoln models.

Ford was the first to market with the new technology, designed specifically to protect rear seat occupants underserved by traditional airbags. A tubular airbag is installed within the seat belt that is deployed by compressed gas within 40 milliseconds in the event of a crash.

The system “is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries,” Ford’s Sue Cischke said in a news release.

The automaker promises that while bulkier, the seat belts are perfectly comfortable, thanks to extra padding and a softer feel. Inflatable seat belts have no problem interfacing with standard child safety seats. Ford estimates that 40% of new 2011 Explorer buyers have opted for the technology to date.

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