Law & Order

Technical Report Evaluates Seat Belt Pretensioners and Load Limiters

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a technical report evaluating the effectiveness of pretensioners and load limiters for seat belts in the front seats of light-duty vehicles (LTVs). Pretensioners retract the belt to remove excess slack when sensing a crash and load limiters allow the belt to slacken when forces on the belt rise above a predetermined level. The NHTSA has encouraged but not required installation of the technology. The equipment was voluntarily installed on all new LTVs by MY ’08. In comparing data for MY ’86–’11 vehicles, the NHTSA concluded that there was nearly a 13% lower fatality risk for front-seat occupants in passenger cars, cross-over vehicles and minivans equipped with the technology. However, there appeared to be little significant benefit for occupants in pickups, SUVs and fullsize vans. Comments on the report are due by April 22, 2014. 

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at