On the Horizon: Better Seat Belts for Seniors

One of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up. Now, researchers want to make the standard seat belt even safer for seniors who account for tens of millions of drivers in the U.S.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, close to 600 older adults are injured each day in car crashes. Common life-threatening injuries include cracked ribs and broken pelvises. If the seat belt is positioned incorrectly around the neck or under the arm of an older driver, it can cause injuries and even fatalities.

Better safety solutions

Researchers at Ohio State University are collaborating with automakers to investigate other options to help reduce severe injuries in drivers 65 and older. Just one includes an inflatable seat belt. The project is also using simulations and smaller crash test dummies to help design better protection for older drivers.

Inflatable seat belts are available in the back seats in some Ford, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz models. Ford introduced inflatable seat belt technology in 2011 saying it would enhance safety for backseat passengers like young children.

In addition to inflatable seat belts, future technology may offer a personalized car key fob to activate a customized safety system within each vehicle. The key fob could adjust a seat belt based on a driver’s individual physiology. To learn more, check out the source article on Reuters for more information.