As we reported as pending in our Fusion review posted mid-July, Ford has now formally announced the 2014 Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi can be equipped with rear inflatable safety belts.
Ford said the 2014 Ford Fusion is now the only car in the midsize segment to offer rear inflatable safety belts, adding to the sedan’s suite of available safety and driver-assist technologies.
This option is also available in the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi.
According to Ford, rear inflatable safety belts combine the attributes of safety belts and airbags. The shoulder belt developed for the outboard rear seats contains an airbag. During a crash, sensors determine when the inflatable belt should deploy and signal the belt’s tubular airbag to rapidly inflate with compressed gas.
“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,” said Srinivasan Sundararajan, safety technical leader with Ford’s research and advanced engineering group. “This is another unique family technology that builds on our safety leadership.”
Ford introduced inflatable rear safety belts on the 2011 Ford Explorer; along with Fusion, the technology is now also available on the Ford Flex, Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKT and Lincoln MKZ.
The technology will also be available in Australia when the new Ford Mondeo arrives in that market in late 2014.
Ford said that in everyday use, inflatable belts operate like conventional safety belts, and are compatible with child car seats and boosters. During a crash, the inflatable belt helps distribute crash forces across more of a passenger’s torso than a traditional belt – up to five times more. Spreading the pressure over a larger area helps reduce pressure on the passenger’s chest, and helps control head and neck motion.