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The frame of the 2002 Dodge Ram was designed to absorb much of the energy in the event of an impact, partly through indentations and holes into the front rail tips which allowed the vehicle's front crush zone to absorb more of the impact energy so there were reduced G-forces exerted on passengers. The heel part of the frame, located immediately behind the wheel wells, was reinforced for added crash integrity.
Full-vehicle computer impact modeling was used to design the 2002 Ram's seat belts and air bags, which were sourced from a single supplier to further improve their performance.
Both front outboard seat belt systems had pyrotechnic pretensioners which tighten the belts when an air bag activates, keeping the occupant securely in place. The constant force retractors (CFR) played out seat belt webbing in a controlled manner when the belt was at risk of tightening too firmly and causing an injury. The driver's side seat belt in the Regular Cab model was equipped with a tension reducer to improve comfort.
High strength, hot-stamped steel beams in the doors were lighter while improving protection in the event of a side impact. Optional side curtain air bags offered added head protection to front and rear outboard passengers in side impact situations. These air bag curtains were integrated into the headliner just above the truck's doors.
The 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup met new, more stringent federal head impact safety standards a year in advance of the requirement.
Optional power adjustable accelerator and brake pedals were available on all 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 models with an automatic transmission. This allowed shorter drivers to adjust the pedals for comfort while maintaining a safe distance from the air bag module. The full rearward position was designed for a 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound plus driver, while the full forward position would comfortably accommodate a 4-foot-11-inch, 108-pound person.
The back seat of the Quad Cab was now larger to better accommodate child safety seats and booster seats. Because children in child safety seats and booster seats no longer had to be placed in the Quad Cab's front seat, engineers were able to delete the truck's air bag on-off switch. An air bag on-off switch remained available in the Regular Cab model.
To make installation of child safety seats more sure and secure, tether anchors were added to the center and right passenger positions in the Regular Cab, and in all three seating positions of the Quad Cab's rear seat. The rear outboard seating positions in the Quad Cab also featured seat belts with cinching latch plates that helped provide more secure child safety seat installation.
Four-wheel disc brakes were now standard. The brakes were by far the largest in the industry shorten stopping distance, and increased responsiveness and lining life. A new type of brake booster delivered two different rates of force depending on how hard the driver presses on the brake pedal.
A rear-wheel anti-lock braking system remained standard on all 2002 Ram 1500 models. The system included Electronic Variable Brake Proportioning (EVBP) that balanced front-to-rear braking effort. Brake proportioning made better use of the rear brakes when the truck was lightly loaded, balancing front-to-rear lining wear while reducing instances of rear-wheel anti-lock action. Four-wheel disc ABS with EVBP was optional on the 2002 Dodge Ram.
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