My husband and kids were in a car accident last week where they all walked away without a scratch even though our car was totaled. Our good fortune was in no doubt thanks to safety features added to cars throughout the years. Coincidentally that was the same day I learned about Ford’s latest seat belt technology and how the company is offering to share the patented design with other companies to increase safety.
Ford’s inflatable rear seat belt deploys on impact and distributes the force over a wider area than the traditional seat belt, reducing head, neck and chest injuries for those in the back seat, often children. It’s a simple idea, yet why doesn’t everyone do it? Maybe because it costs money to do the research to get it right. Ford introduced the seat belts in the 2011 Explorer models, and has expanded to use them in the Explorer, Fusion, Flex, Taurus, and Lincoln MKT and Lincoln MKZ. Having successfully increased safety, Ford has decided to license the technology to other companies – other auto manufacturers, boat makers, and aircraft – to encourage widespread use of the inflatable seat belt.
After the accident, I asked my kids to look at their bodies to see if there were lines or bruises from their seat belts, mostly because I remember a friend with horrible scars across her chest remaining from a brutal car accident. As we look at new cars to replace the totaled one, safety is a chief concern. Getting the call that your kids have been in an accident is jarring, and hearing that they are waiting to be picked up on the side of road is much better than the awful alternatives. Inflatable seat belts are a no-brainer and we hope to see this idea take off with all automakers.