Ford Explorer Industry-First Rear Inflatable Seat Belts Earn Prestigious Safety Award
NEW YORK, April 29, 2011 – Ford’s industry-exclusive rear inflatable seat belts – one of the 2011 Explorer’s breakthrough safety innovations that helped nearly triple the vehicle’s March sales – earned the 2011 Traffic Safety Achievement Award from the New York International Auto Show’s World Traffic Safety Symposium.
This advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat occupants. Over time, Ford plans to offer this technology in other nameplates globally.
“Ford’s rear inflatable seat belt technology will enhance safety for rear seat passengers of all ages, especially young children who might be more vulnerable in crashes,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Rear inflatable seat belts – a Ford exclusive – help build on our safety leadership.”
Safer and more comfortable
In everyday use, rear inflatable belts operate like conventional seat belts, including compatibility with infant and child safety and booster seats. The additional comfort and padding of rear inflatable seat belts encourages increased use.
In the event of a frontal or side crash, the increased diameter of the inflated belt more effectively holds the occupant in the proper seating position, helping to reduce the risk of injury.
The inflated belts help to distribute crash force energy across up to five times more of the occupant’s torso than a traditional belt. This expands its range of protection and reduces risk of injury by diffusing crash pressure over a larger area, while helping provide additional head and neck support.
Following deployment, the belt remains inflated for several seconds before dispersing its air through pores in the material.
Innovation and heritage
Rear inflatable seat belts debuted as an affordable option for the 2011 Ford Explorer, named in January as the 2011 North American Truck of the Year.
Ford has the most top U.S. safety ratings of any automotive manufacturer ever. This includes more Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and more National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) five-star ratings.
Ford was the first automaker to introduce seat belts in all seating positions in 1955 and was a leader in making driver and front passenger airbags standard in most vehicles by 1993.
The New York International Auto Show’s 2009 World Traffic Safety Symposium honored Ford’s MyKey® owner control feature, enabling parents or fleet administrators to set limits on vehicle speed and audio volume while muting the audio system if front occupants don’t buckle up.
In 2007 Ford was recognized with the Traffic Safety Achievement Award for Community Service, honoring the Driving Skills for Lifeinitiative to improve driver skill sets among teens. Two years earlier, Ford was feted for its exclusive VIRTTEX driving simulator and its use in researching potential driver distractions.
Ford’s rear inflatable seat belts also stood out at the 2011 Edison Best New Product Award ceremony by receiving the gold medal in applied technology.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.