Inflatable Seat Belts

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 9:40am

New feature on Ford cars is designed to save lives.

Seat belts with extra safety protection will soon be in Ford cars.

What looks likes a normal seat belt actually holds ground breaking safety technology inside.

The Ford Motor Company says it has created the first inflatable seat belt in the world.

"This seat belt will better protect the head, chest and neck from injuring through the inflatable seat belt technology," explains Ford Safety Representative Audrey Morris.

In a collision, the seat belt inflates into an airbag.

"It spreads the crash force over five times more area of the body and ultimately keeps folks safer," says Morris.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Lucy Papp has seen her share of crashes.

"When you're dealing with side impact airbags, they travel about 500 miles per hour. So anyone leaning toward the window or sitting next to the door panel could be injured by the deployment of the airbag," says Papp.

That's why she says an inflatable seatbelt is a better option.

"With this being built into your seat belt, it covers stronger parts of your body and makes the impact not as bad," says Papp.

The seatbelts are for rear seat passengers, who are typically children or the elderly.

You could start seeing these seat belts on the road as early as this winter in select vehicles.

For now, you'll only find it in the 2011 Ford Explorer.

Ford plans to offer the inflatable seat belts in more models in the future.

Papp says she would like to see other auto makers use them too.

"I think it would save lives," she says.

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