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Automobile companies are always in a battle to come up with the newest features for their vehicles. First came in dash-GPS, then back-up cameras, and now inflatable seatbelts. Ford is releasing its backseat inflatable seatbelts on several more of its 2014 vehicles as an option.
Ford first offered its safety first inflatable feature with the 2011 Explorer. Their inflatable belt combines a shoulder seatbelt and a tubular-shaped airbag that inflates upon impact. During a crash, sensors determine when the inflatable belt should be deployed and when signaled, the belt is rapidly inflated with compressed gas. Obviously the main focus of this optional feature is safety. The safety technical leader from Ford said this about the inflatable seatbelt;
“The inflatable belt 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.”
This inflatable technology is now available as an option on several of Ford’s vehicles, including the Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi, Flex, and Taurus. For everyday use, the inflatable belts operate like conventional safety belts and are compatible with car seats and boosters. During a crash, the inflatable belt helps distribute the crash forces across more of the passenger’s torso, up to five times more than a traditional belt.
The inflatable belt option costs $190 extra, a big discount in comparison to the Explorer’s option price of $595. With more car buyers focusing on safety, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if more people start purchasing the inflatable belt option and more car companies begin creating their own version of the technology for their vehicles.