Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Safety Belt Technology to Increase Comfort and Safety

Based on the finding in the Safety Belt Countermeasure Study, FMCSA will initiate a Safety Belt SBIR Project starting FY 2007. Phase 1 is Proof of Concept. Phase 2 is principal R&D. (Participation in the SBIR program is Congressionally directed.) FMCSA research has shown that about 55% of commercial motor vehicles (vehicles 10,000 pounds or greater that operate in interstate commerce) drivers buckle their safety belt as compared to abut 85% of passenger vehicle drivers. Increasing safety belt usage by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers is an FMCSA and DOT priority. It is envisioned that this device will be low cost, reliable, comfortable, rugged, and user-friendly, to increase comfort and/or encourage safety belt usage by CMV drivers. Ideas such as window stickers or other similar decals to remind a driver to buckle up will not be considered for this program. Proposers were required to certify that to the best of their knowledge, no such product exists, has been patented, or is patent pending. Examples of potential concepts, if they do not already currently exist for CMVs as discussed above, could include safety belt attachments such as uniquely designed pads or cushions and electronic monitors in connection with onboard recorders.

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