Friday, June 27, 2008

Trapped in the RamBox?

2009 Dodge Ram sports an unusual safety feature
Posted Today 07:46 AM by Evan.McCausland

I had a chance to look over (but not drive) the 2009 Dodge Ram the other day, and I discovered an interesting quirk by means of the RamBox. It's not that I find the bed-mounted storage boxes odd, but something inside of them caught my eye.

2009 Dodge Ram - RamBox Cover

It was a glow-in-the-dark emergency release.

2009 Dodge Ram - Emergency Release

Over the past few years, I've seen these pulls implemented across numerous vehicles - and I couldn't be happier. These handles allow children and other occupants trapped within trunks an emergency escape; one quick pull of the phosphorescent plastic handle, and pop goes the latch. If an inexpensive part helps to save lives and reduce tragedies, I'm all for it.

But as they carry only 8.6 cubic feet of cargo, why does the RamBox include the pulls? Interesting question, but the answer lies within Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 401. Any vehicle that sports a trunk compartment must be equipped with an interior release that allows for trapped occupants to escape.

Sensible, but is the RamBox really a trunk? According to the FMVSS, a cargo area is a trunk if

  • it is intended to carry luggage or cargo (check)
  • it sports a closable lid (check)
  • it is wholly-separated from the passenger compartment (check)
  • it is large enough to hold a standardized dummy, sized to an average three-year old child (check)
Well, I can't confirm the last point; I'm certainly not going to go stuff a Cabbage Patch doll into the cubby to see if it's feasible.

Although I think customers are more likely to place a set of tools inside the RamBox than their small child, I suppose it's much better to be safe than sorry...

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