Yesterday was a major holiday in the history of automotive safety–it was the 50th anniversary of the most important automobile safety device ever invented: the three-point safety belt, Volvo says.
Invented by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin in 1958 and patented in 1959, the device has saved more than 1 million lives and is now standard equipment on every car. Volvo was also the first carmaker in the world to equip its cars with front seat three-point safety belts as standard.”
Even after 50 years of automotive safety innovation, the three-point safety belt remains the most effective protection for occupants in the event of a collision. The belt reduces the risk of fatalities and serious injuries from collisions by about 50%. A design as obvious as it is intelligent, the three-point belt is perfectly suited to the seat occupant’s body. It is the safety belt’s ability to keep the occupant in the seat that is of crucial importance.
Volvo built its reputation for safety all throughout the 1960s and 1970s before Detroit figured out that safety sells. In fact, Detroit automakers resisted many important safety improvements. It wasn’t until Lee Iacocca started championing air bags that U.S. makers slowly started to see that young families were demanding more safety in vehicles.
The three-point seat belt stems from a long line of Volvo safety innovations, many now standard equipment, including multiple grades of steel throughout the vehicle, intelligent air bags, electronic vehicle stability systems, stability control, driver alert, blind spot identification system, lane departure, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and automatic braking, just to name a few. Adding another chapter to its safety legacy, in 2009 Volvo introduced the 2010 XC60 T6 AWD with a low-speed collision avoidance system.
“From Nils Bohlin’s invention 50 years ago to City Safety this year, we never stop looking for ways to keep passengers safe,” Speck said. “Volvo has always safeguarded the passengers inside its vehicles, and with the introduction of Pedestrian Detection technology in the S60 concept car, our vehicles will be able to detect pedestrians outside the vehicle and reduce the vehicle’s speed if the driver does not react to a pedestrian in the roadway.”
The information in this posting is based on a press release from Volvo.