Friday, December 04, 2009

Ford Motor Company Trying to Save Fetuses

By designing a seat belt for pregnant women.

The number of unborn children lost in car accidents is relatively small compared to the estimated 40,000 people who die annually in collisions. Why is there so much effort being focused on this group?

This is actually a bigger issue than the child seat issue, which is something we are very focused on. It’s roughly four times the problem of children dying in car seats. And when you look at the 40,000 crash deaths, a lot of those are the fault of the person — they weren’t wearing a seat belt or they were drinking and driving. But if you are pregnant and get into a crash, there’s little you can do to protect your fetus.

From a design standpoint, you ask yourself, “What is the population I can help?” If someone is not wearing a seat belt, it’s hard to get them to wear it. If they’re drinking and driving, that’s another issue. But there are things we can do for people who are driving to work, wearing seat belts and getting into crashes. How do we design a better seat belt for that population? This is an area where we can make a difference.