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NHTSA Finds Safety Belt Pretensioning Devices, Load Limiters Helpful in Reducing Crash Forces
NHTSA 14-03
Friday, April 25, 2003
Contact: Tim Hurd
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

NHTSA Finds Safety Belt Pretensioning Devices,
Load Limiters Helpful in Reducing Crash Forces

A study released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows the effectiveness of safety belt pretensioning devices, which pull safety belts snug as a crash begins, and load limiters, which allow belts to yield slightly during a crash to reduce the force on the wearer’s chest.

"Over the past few years, some auto manufacturers have voluntarily added significant protection for drivers and passengers by installing these advanced safety belts, and we commend them for taking that action.  We hope that these features will become universal," said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D. 

Dr. Runge noted that in model year 2002 approximately 63 percent of new cars and light trucks had pretensioners and 84 percent had load limiters. 

Information on which vehicles currently offer pretensioners and load limiters can be found in the annual NHTSA publication, Buying a Safer Car.  This booklet also provides consumers information on crash tests, as well as the availability of additional safety features such as tire pressure monitoring systems.

The agency evaluated New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) frontal crash test data for model years 1998 through 2001.  In these tests, vehicles are crashed into an unyielding barrier at 35 mph while instruments measure forces on the head, chest and legs of test dummies.

The combination of pretensioners and load limiters was shown, on average, to reduce the likelihood of chest and head injury.  In addition, all vehicles that added either pretensioners or load limiters alone showed a reduction in head and chest injury.

The full NHTSA Technical Report (DOT HS 809 562), and a shorter Evaluation Note (DOT HS 809 562), "NCAP Test Improvements with Pretensioners and Load Limiters," can be viewed online at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/regrev/evaluate.  They can also be obtained by calling 202-366-2560 or faxing a request to 202-366-2559.  Buying a Safer Car is online at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/testing/NCAP/ and can be obtained by calling the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

Passenger Cars Pretensioners Load Limiters
Acura 3.2 CL X X
Acura 3.2 TL X X
Acura 3.5 RL X X
Acura NSX-T X  
Acura RSX X X
Audi A4 X X
Audi A6 X X
Audi A8 X X
Audi TT X X
Bentley Arnage X  
Bentley Azure X  
Bentley Continental X  
BMW 3 Series X X
BMW 5 Series X X
BMW 7 Series X X
BMW Mini Cooper/Cooper S X X
BMW Z3 Roadster/Coupe X X
BMW Z8 Roadster X X
Buick Century   X
Buick Regal   X
Cadillac DeVille   X
Cadillac Seville   X
Chevrolet Cavalier   X
Chevrolet Impala   X
Chevrolet Malibu   X
Chevrolet Monte Carlo   X
Chevrolet Prizm X X
Chrysler 300M   X
Chrysler Concorde   X
Chrysler Sebring 2D (not convertible)   X
Chrysler Sebring 4D X X
Chrysler Sebring Convertible X  
Daewoo Lanos X  
Daewoo Leganza X  
Daewoo Nubria X  
Dodge Intrepid   X
Dodge Neon   X
Dodge Stratus 2D/4D X X
Ferrari 360 X  
Ferrari 575 M X X
Ford Crown Victoria X X

Passenger Cars Pretensioners Load Limiters
Ford Escort   X
Ford Focus X X
Ford Mustang   X
Ford Taurus X X
Ford Thunderbird X X
Honda Accord X X
Honda Civic X X
Honda Insight X X
Honda S2000 X X
Hyundai Accent X X
Hyundai Elantra X X
Hyundai Sonata X X
Hyundai Tiburon X X
Hyundai XG-350 X X
Infiniti G20 X X
Infiniti I35 X X
Infiniti Q45 X X
Jaguar S-Type X X
Jaguar XJ Series X  
Jaguar XK Series X X
Jaguar X-Type X X
Kia Optima X X
Kia Rio X X
Kia Spectra X X
Lexus ES300 X X
Lexus GS 300 X X
Lexus GS 430    
Lexus IS300 X X
Lexus LS430 X X
Lexus SC430 X X
Lincoln LS X X
Lincoln Town Car X X
Maserati Coupe/Spyder X X
Mazda 626   X
Mazda Millenia   X
Mazda Miata MX-5 X X
Mazda Protégé X X
Mercedes C-Class X X
Mercedes CL-Class X X
Mercedes CLK-Class X X
Mercedes E-Class X X
Mercedes S-Class X X
Mercedes SL-Class X  
Mercedes SLK X X
Mercury Cougar X  

Passenger Cars Pretensioners Load Limiters
Mercury Grand Marquis X X
Mercury Sable X X
Mitsubishi Diamante X X
Mitsubishi Eclipse   X
Mitsubishi Gallant   X
Mitsubishi Lancer X X
Mitsubishi Mirage D X
Nissan Altima X X
Nissan Maxima X X
Nissan Sentra X X
Oldsmobile Alero   X
Oldsmobile Intrigue   X
Pontiac Grand Am   X
Pontiac Grand Prix   X
Pontiac Sunfire   X
Porsche 911 X X
Porsche Boxster X X
Rolls Royce Corniche X  
Rolls Royce Park Ward X  
Rolls Royce Silver Seraph X  
Saab 9-3 X  
Saab 9-5 X X
Saturn L-Series   X
Saturn S-series   X
Subaru Imprezza X X
Subaru Legacy X X
Suzuki Aerio X X
Suzuki Esteem   X
Toyota Avalon X X
Toyota Camry X X
Toyota Celica X X
Toyota Corolla X X
Toyota Echo X X
Toyota MR2 X X
Toyota Prius X X
Volkswagen Cabrio X X
Volkswagen Golf/GTI X X
Volkswagen Jetta X X
Volkswagen New Beetle X X
Volkswagen Passat X X
Volvo 40 series X X
Volvo 60 series X X
Volvo 70 series X X

Passenger Cars Pretensioners Load Limiters
Volvo 80 series X X
Light Trucks    
Acura MDX X X
Audi Allroad X X
Buick Rendezvous   X
Chevrolet Astro   X
Chevrolet Blazer   X
Chevrolet S-10   D
Chevrolet Silverado   A
Chevrolet Tracker   X
Chevrolet Trailblazer   X
Chevrolet Venture X X
Chrysler PT Cruiser X X
Chrysler Town & Country X X
Chrysler Voyager X X
Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan X X
Dodge Dakota X X
Dodge Durango X X
Dodge Ram Van X X
Dodge Ram Wagon X X
Dodge Ram 1500 X X
Ford Econoline X  
Ford Escape X X
Ford Excursion X X
Ford Expedition X X
Ford Explorer X X
Ford Explorer Sport   X
Ford Explorer Sport Trac   X
Ford F-150 X X
Ford Ranger X X
Ford Windstar X X
GMC Envoy   X
GMC Safari   X
GMC Sonoma   D
Honda CR-V X X
Honda Odyssey X X
Honda Passport   X
Hyundai Santa Fe X X
Infiniti QX4 X X
Isuzu Axiom   X
Isuzu Rodeo/Rodeo Sport   X
Isuzu Trooper   X

Light Trucks Pretensioners Load Limiters
Jeep Grand Cherokee   X
Jeep Liberty X X
Jeep Wrangler   X
Kia Sedona X X
Land Rover Discovery Series II X X
Land Rover Freelander X X
Land Rover Range Rover X X
Lincoln Blackwood X X
Lincoln Navigator X X
Lexus LX470 X X
Lexus RX 300 X X
Mazda B-Series X X
Mazda MPV X X
Mazda Tribute X X
Mercedes G 500 X X
Mercedes ML-Class X X
Mercury Mountaineer X X
Mercury Villager X X
Mitsubishi Montero X X
Mitsubishi Montero Sport D X

Light Trucks Pretensioners Load Limiters
Nissan Frontier X X
Nissan Pathfinder X X
Nissan Quest X X
Nissan Xterra X X
Oldsmobile Bravada   X
Oldsmobile Silhouette X X
Pontiac Aztek   X
Pontiac Montana X X
Saturn VUE   X
Suzuki Grand Vitara   X
Suzuki Grand Vitara XL7 X X
Suzuki Vitara   X
Toyota 4Runner X X
Toyota Highlander X X
Toyota LandCruiser X X
Toyota RAV4 X X
Toyota Sequoia X X
Toyota Sienna X X
Toyota Tacoma X X
Toyota Tundra X X
Volkswagen Eurovan X X

A  - Available as an option
D - Driver side only

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