kc67 (2789711) writes "Unfortunately, around 400 U.S. motorists die each year from drowning when their vehicle plunges into water. To help eliminate the chances of being restrained in a submerged car, a new seat belt mechanism has been designed to make sure that occupants can extract themselves quickly and safely when underwater.
The Escape Belt looks like the traditional female latch that plugs into a car’s buckle. When water hits the interior, a salt pill inside the latch dissolves, causing a hammer to release the male section of the belt to free the occupant. It’s the same technology used by airlines in self-inflating life jackets, and while you’ll still need to open the door, popping the seat belt won’t be an issue.
Fijen TMLS, the Dutch manufacturer that created the product, says that the cartridge needs replacement every few years, but that the system is robust enough that it won’t activate from a spilled Fresca. The mechanism costs a little under $40 for each unit and the company is pursuing automotive supplier partnerships to bring it to market."
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