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Belting news!

We at Excite Motoring love to drive safely. Which is why the news that Ford are to fit their cars with inflatable rear seat belts, combining a traditional belt with an airbag, particularly exciting.

The new technology will spread the impact of a crash across five times the body area of a normal belt. Ford says that all compatible cars will have them, though cannot put a date on when Europe will see this. Our scouts say that in the States they are to be fitted to the the new Explorer model.

While it's been compulsory since 1991 to have rear seatbelts, passengers in the rear do not have the airbag protection afforded to those in the front of the car.

The belts reportedly inflate less quickly than a typical airbag, which is apparently good for the head and neck.

The inflatable rear seatbelt is just one of a stack of new safety innovations by Ford. Some models in the UK already feature the 'active city stop' where the car brakes automatically if it is travelling under 18.6 mph and there is a risk of collision.

Other new safety features include a lane departure warning, which alerts the driver by vibrating the steering wheel if the car is not firmly in lane, and also an alert if there is something in driver's blind spot.

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