New seatbelt automatically unlocks when submerged

I'd wager at one time or another just about every driver has wondered what exactly they would do if their car ever started to sink in a lake. Each year hundreds of drivers across the United States drown because they're unable to get out of a vehicle that has become submerged in water. Some of those deaths are likely thanks to panicked drivers who are unable to release their seatbelt.

If you fear drowning in your car because you can't get your seatbelt unlocked, a new device has surfaced called the Escape Belt that will automatically unlock your seatbelt for you if the car become submerged. The Escape Belt buckle looks like a traditional female seatbelt latch that the cars belt buckle plugs into. The Escape Belt has some sort of salt pill inside the latch.

When that salt pill is subjected to water, it dissolves and releases the latch allowing the seatbelt to pop open. The technology is said to be the same that airlines use in self-inflating lifejackets. The salt cartridge would have to be replaced every few years according to the manufacturer of the belt.

The manufacturer also says that the cartridge that releases the belt can withstand spills such as accidentally dumping your drink into your seatbelt latch. The mechanism reportedly costs slightly under $40 and the company is pursuing automotive supplier partnerships for the device.

[via Wired]