Ford engineers are expecting high marks for the 2004 F-150 in the government’s 35 mph full frontal barrier crash test and also the 40 mph offset crash test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the company announced.The F-150 will be the first Ford vehicle to meet the strict new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208. The updated requirements now include air bag and offset crash performance, along with occupant protection for different size people with or without seatbelts. In addition, Ford says the new F-150 meets some standards that are still on the drawing board in Washington, D.C."We have really taken the new F-Series to a new level of safety," said Matt Niesluchowski, safety supervisor, Ford F-150. "The current model is very safe with real world performance among the best in the field. The new F-Series has added a number of features to make it even safer."Niesluchowski adds that it all starts with a strong frame. "In the very front we also have two-piece stamped steel horns that are designed to control the energy absorption rate and dissipate the energy."Ford says the effectiveness of the design is apparent when comparing a new frame with one that has been crash tested. The horn area compresses like an accordion for nearly 2 feet, as the "crush zone" absorbs the maximum amount of energy. From the outside, damage to the truck is obvious. However, from the inside, the seating areas have barely been touched, the company reports.The new F-150 features advanced restraints, from "smart buckles" designed to sense if a person is wearing his or her belt, to pyrotechnic pretensioners that reduce slack. Ford Motor Co.’s BeltMinder has also been added to the passenger side – a first for a truck, the company says.