I just learned about the potentially awful things called seat belt load limiters, and I would like to know if they can be disabled or adjusted. I’m most interested in Toyotas. Even information on how strong the load limiters are would be good. Load limiters are a good idea if the load limit could be adjusted based on the health, age, and size of the occupant. No car that I know of lets you adjust the strength of the load limiters let alone do they even mention that it exists. It is an important feature for an elderly frail person in a mild or moderate accident, but I am the opposite of this.
I saw one of those old versus new crashes where they crashed a Kia Rio in to an older car. The high speed camera shows the seat belt in the Rio pulling out and the crash dummy moving forward and almost touching the steering wheel. I learned what load limiters are and realized that this doesn’t leave any room for safety in a higher speed crash. Recently this video came out and it shows the horror that results in a 50 MPH crash in a vehicle that has a seat belt load limiter that is optimized for a 40 MPH IIHS crash test. The dummy moves far forward and makes hard contact with the steering wheel in the neck and head area. They say it would be severe brain and neck injury and likely fatal. Watch the Honda CR-V 50 MPH and 56 MPH horror crash test here: Crash Test | 40mph VS. 56mph | How Speed Affects the Severity of Crashes - YouTube
The load limiter is likely not just for chest compression reduction, it probably helps control the rebound of the body and head of a crash test dummy in the IIHS crash test, so the dummy’s head doesn’t hit the B pillar on the way back and get a lower score on the test due to a non life threatening injury. Cars without load limiters still achieved Acceptable ratings on IIHS crash tests at 40% and 40MPH in to a deformable barrier. I believe IIHS testing has created an unrealistic goal of no injuries in a severe crash, and auto makers have optimized their restraint systems for this test even though it results in a higher risk of fatality for the driver and passengers in other types of crashes or at higher speeds especially those who have stronger and less frail bodies.
If you want to know if your vehicles has load limiters or pretensioners you can see page 43 of this document: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811835 Page 36 shows that load limiters help increase safety for people weighing over 175 pounds cars, but the reverse is true for minivans.