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Unique protection for the belted driver

All-steel cabs, integrated seat belts, belt tensioners and airbags

The amount of driver protection available in Scania's 4-series cabs is unparalleled in the truck business. The all-steel impact-tested cab acts as a safety cage. The integrated seat belts are comfortable to wear and fitted as standard in Europe. To this Scania now adds the options of belt tensioners and a driver’s airbag on long-haul cabs. The driver protection system is based on the wearing of seat belts to prevent the occupants from being thrown about. The arguments should be convincing enough for every driver to buckle up...

Scania has offered lap-and-diagonal seat belts on trucks since the 1970s, with inertia-reel belts taking over during the early 1980s. However, drivers often felt so safe inside the cab that the belts were hanging unused. This disinterest also stems from a lack of comfort, especially with a suspended seat, which moves up and down during driving. The remote attachment points - in the B-pillar and the floor - cause cab-mounted belts to chafe against the shoulder and constantly move out of position.

Integrated belts are more likely to get usedIn 1988, Scania pioneered integrated seat belts on trucks. These belts are built into the seat, instead of being attached to the cab. They offer superior comfort and protection since they are always correctly adjusted.

In the 4-series luxury seat, Scania has further developed its integrated seat belt concept. The belt is fully integrated in the seat structure with a smooth function and very low reel forces. A linking mechanism automatically adjusts the shoulder strap to the height of the occupant.

Integrated seat belts are fitted as standard on all Scania trucks sold in Europe.

Belt tensioners minimise the snatch

Scania now introduces belt tensioners as the next major step in driver safety. In an accident, at a predetermined g-force, small pyrotechnic charges are released, which tighten and lock the belts immediately. The charges are triggered by a centrally placed g-sensor. The maximum pull exerted is 100 kg or 150 mm.

The effect of the tensioners on the person sitting in the seat is that if the pre-set g-force is exceeded, the belts are tightened at the same time as the occupant starts moving forward. The violent snatch back against the backrest after the accident has culminated is effectively reduced.

Belt tensioners will be available as an option on luxury seats in the R-cab from early 1997.

Airbag offers extra "padding"

Scania also introduces an airbag in the steering wheel in combination with belt tensioners in the seat. Compared with belt tensioners, the airbag gives limited extra protection, but the consequences may be somewhat alleviated in some accidents. The same g-sensor is used to trigger the airbag and the belt tensioners.

It is worth noting that the airbag has very little effect if the driver is unbelted. The airbag will be an optional complement to belt tensioners from early 1997.

A truck accident is different from a car accidentAn accident in a truck is very different from a car accident from the driver’s point of view. Because of the weight of the vehicle, everything often happens more slowly and in several stages. The first step may be a collision with a car, the second that the vehicle runs off the road into a ditch and then it may turn over.

Head-on crashes can be rather violent because of the short deformation zone available in a forward-control cab. Different standards therefore have to be used to assess the consequences.

Surveys have shown that in slow accidents - e.g. if a truck runs off the road or turns over - unbelted drivers and passengers are either thrown around in the cab or out of it, in the latter case often with serious consequences. On the other hand a belted person remains in the seat until the vehicle has stopped.

In rapid accidents - e.g. if a truck runs into another heavy vehicle - an unbelted driver is thrown forward against the steering wheel and lower part of the dashboard. A belted driver then stands a much better chance of not being seriously injured.