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Enhancing Rear-Seat Safety

Cars have had rear seatbelts for decades. But until recently such advances as airbags, seatbelt pretensioners and belt load limiters have been limited to the front seat.
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Cars have had rear seatbelts for decades. But until recently such advances as airbags, seatbelt pretensioners and belt load limiters have been limited to the front seat. Now that’s changing rapidly, says Kurt Fischer, senior technical specialist with ZF TRW’s Systems Group.

He notes that carmakers are enhancing rear-seat restraints with pretensioners that tighten belts before a collision and load limiters that help decelerate an occupant more gently in a crash. He says the next step will be rear-seat airbags, whose performance requirements are significantly different from front-seat devices.

Fisher adds that safety agencies appear likely to adopt regulations requiring such features within a few years.

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