The 2011 Ford Explorer was chosen as the 2011 Traffic Safety Achievement Award winner from the New York International Auto Show’s World Traffic Safety Symposium. Ford received the honor due to the new rear inflatable seat belt system used on the 2011 Ford Explorer.
The technology is a major industry first and breakthrough in safety. The new rear seat belt operates normally in everyday use. In the event of a crash however, a bag inside of the belt will fill with cold-compressed gas and provide inflation across the passenger from the shoulder to the torso.
The inflation creates a bigger diameter for the belt which helps to redistribute the force of the crash across a wider area on the passenger’s body. The spread of impact energy keeps passengers more in the seated position during the crash and allowed for more support to the head and neck to reduce injury.
The new seat belts will improve the concern for rear passenger safety which typically are children and elderly passengers who are more susceptible to injury in a crash. Ford made the system compatible with infant and child safety and booster seats.
In addition to the safety award, the 2011 Ford Explorer was named the 2011 Truck of the Year in January and more recently was the 2011 Edison Best New Product gold medal in applied technology. The ground-breaking safety system and awards pushed the Ford Explorer to nearly triple its March sales.
Ford has always been on the cutting edge of safety technology, especially with seat belts. Ford was the first to put seat belts in all seating positions in 1955 and a leader in making driver and front passenger airbags standard in most vehicles by 1993. The new rear seat belt system adds another dimension to Ford’s impressive safety technology and a huge selling point to customers. Ford plans to add the new rear seat belts to other nameplates gradually over time.