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 |  Jun 22 2011, 11:55 AM

One of the newest safety features in the 2012 Ford Explorer are its rear seatbelts, which inflate during an accident. Now, spurred by the Explorer’s success and advanced safety ratings, Ford is making these available on the Flex and a number of Lincoln vehicles.

The seatbelts expand to protect the head, neck, and chest for rear-seat passengers—most of whom are children or the elderly, as 40% of Explorers have been purchased by parents. They are compatible with child seats and are slim enough to work like normal seatbelts.

And as a result, the Explorer is one of many Ford vehicles with a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. The Flex is another; expect its safety street cred to rise once its belts are upgraded. It’s not known which Lincoln vehicles will features these, but the MKX and MKT are probably a good guess.