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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I for one would love to see inflatable seatbelts in the new XC90, similar to what Lexus and Ford currently offers (and has offered since 2010) and Mercedes will very soon offer. Apparently they spread the crash forces over 5x more area than traditional belts, while offering cushioning for the head and neck.

Currently Ford only offers them as an option in the rear seats on certain models, but I think Volvo would do well (for their safety image, etc.) to offer them standard (or at the very least an option) in both the front and rear seats.

More info:

http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=31360
http://www.autoblog.com/2012/07/20/mercedes-benz-debuts-beltbag-airbag-for-rear-seatbelts/

Personally, if they're as good and effective as Ford and Mercedes says they are (and theoretically, they should be), I see these becoming standard in all car makes and models within the next 10-15 years.
 

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In theory I agree, but I wonder how they'd really fare anchoring child seats and securing children in booster-seats? Ford says they're OK but I don't see how compatibility wouldn't be a significant complication.
 

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i have a better idea. instead of making the cars safer, make the drivers safer. get rid of phones, lipstick, coffee, etc. and just drive. i am tired ofspending money on gasoline to haul hundreds if not thousands of pounds of excess weight just so that i am better protected with the dim wit who isnt paying attention hits me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In theory I agree, but I wonder how they'd really fare anchoring child seats and securing children in booster-seats? Ford says they're OK but I don't see how compatibility wouldn't be a significant complication.
I've not done any significant research but I haven't heard of any problems. I think they're basically just "plug and play". If Volvo thought it could present a problem, they could easily just make it possible to disable the inflation feature, just like they make it possible to disable the front passenger airbag for if you need to put a carseat up there for example.

Inflatable belts are totally the future though, mark my words. When you think about it the seatbelt is one of the most important safety features in any vehicle, but the technology has remained essentially unchanged (aside from pre-tensioning and load-limiters* being added a couple decades ago) since its inception. Seatbelts are a bit of a double-edged sword though; on the one hand, they drastically increase your chance of survival by controlling your deceleration and making sure you stay put rather than flying out the windshield or windows in a crash. On the other hand, in the more severe crashes they put the body – particularly the head, neck, and chest – under a good deal of stress and force, which in turn is responsible for a lot of injuries/fatalities.

* Load-limiters work by allowing the belt to spool out (acting kinda sorta like a spring) a bit to reduce the amount of force (slightly) on the occupant. However a recent IIHS report/study has suggested that these might actually be doing more harm than good, because they can allow the body to flail around excessively.

Inflatable seat belts (which IIHS suggested might provide a solution to this problem in their report) appear to be the best of both worlds: they apparently drastically reduce the amount of force on the occupant, much more so than load limiters, while not allowing him/her to flail around like they might when the belt spools out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i have a better idea. instead of making the cars safer, make the drivers safer. get rid of phones, lipstick, coffee, etc. and just drive. i am tired ofspending money on gasoline to haul hundreds if not thousands of pounds of excess weight just so that i am better protected with the dim wit who isnt paying attention hits me.
I'm with you, but as much as I hate to say it unfortunately I don't think it's feasible. Humans are flawed creatures – even without phones, lipstick, coffee, food, or other distractions – and so until computers play a larger role in the operation of a vehicle (at the very least when it detects a crash is imminent), accidents will continue to happen and so the automakers need to continue working on improving passive (and active) safety tech.
 
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