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 ROCKLEIGH, N.J., July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- From coast to coast, children and dogs, coolers and barbecues are being stuffed into cars for the long trek to the mountains or the beach as the Fourth approaches. "Americans love hitting the road," noted Mats Ola Palm, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, Inc. "This love affair with travel reaches epic proportions during holidays, particularly during America's birthday bash," Palm continued. Mr. Palm turn serious as he added, "but high spirits sometimes blot out proper caution." He noted that traffic accidents soar during holiday periods and that most of us are unaware of the magnitude of the forces involved in traffic accidents.
 Imagine being propelled forward with a force equal to 40 times your own body weight. That's what happens to an unbelted passenger during a 30 mph automobile crash, according to two studies conducted by Volvo Car Corporation and the Swedish Road Safety Office. Translated into plain English: during a 30 mph crash an unbelted, 50 pound child becomes a missile that will strike with a force equal to 2,000 pounds.
 That's why crashes can be serious even at low speeds. The American Automobile Association advises that the "majority of crashes that cause injury and death occur at speeds under 40 mph within 25 miles of home. Without belts, deaths have occurred at speeds as low as 12 mph."
 A pamphlet published by the AAA in 1992 continues: "Studies show that each year one out of every five Americans will be involved in a motor vehicle crash." The AAA also makes the point that using lap/shoulder safety belts helps reduce moderate to fatal injuries by approximately 40 to 50 percent.
 Traffic carnage continues in spite of mandatory belt-use laws in over 40 states, because approximately half of America's public simply does not buckle up. Mythology about seat belts is still prevalent. Many people, for example, assume that the risk of injury is less in the rear seat. In fact, two-thirds of all unbelted passengers in a collision will suffer head and facial injuries, whether they are seated in the front or the rear, according to the American Trauma Society. Additionally, unbelted rear seat passengers are a danger to front seat passengers as well as to themselves!
 Volvo, the firm that developed and patented the three-point seat belt found on almost all new cars today, has been urging their customers to buckle up since 1959. "The three-point shoulder/lap belt is regarded by most experts as the single most effective safety device ever put into an automobile," stated Palm. "We are justifiably proud of our contribution to safety engineering," Palm continued. Unlike other designs of the time, Volvo's lap/shoulder belt used a single piece of webbing with a sliding buckle to optimize the belt's restraining force in the event of an accident. "All of our 1993 models have three-point seat belts in all seating positions -- including the rear center position," notes Palm.
 Volvo was also the world's first manufacturer to introduce an innovative safety feature designed specifically for children. A child booster cushion is now integrated into the rear seat armrest of 1993 model year 850 GLT and the 900 series sedans and wagons. First introduced by Volvo in 1991, the cushion is designed for children age three and over weighing between 50 and 80 pounds and between 46 and 54 inches in height. It helps place the child in the correct position to use the central three-point seat belt. When not needed, the booster cushion folds up neatly into the pull down armrest. A separate child cushion and backrest designed for the same age, height, and weight is available as an accessory as well. For the little ones, new Volvos include pre-drilled anchorage points under the rear window shelf for the top tether strap on some infant seats. These anchorage points are designed to hold child restraint top tether anchorages for infant seats.
 The AAA has stated that car "crashes continue to lead all other causes of death and injury for small children and adolescents. Even in normal driving at speeds as low as 3 to 5 mph, sudden stops and turns can injure small children." That is why Mr. Palm speaking on behalf of Volvo, "urges you and your entire family to use the proper seating devices, always buckle your seat belts, and have a safe and happy holiday."
 -0- 7/2/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Austin, or Michael Guerra, both of Volvo Cars of North America, Inc., 201-768-7300/

CO: Volvo Cars of North America ST: New Jersey IN: AUT SU:

LD -- NYFNS1 -- 8030 07/02/93 07:34 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 2, 1993

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