Volvo's Invention Of Seat Belt Keeps Drivers Alive

31 January 2003 marks the 20th anniversary of the compulsory wearing of seatbelts in Britain. When Volvo engineer, the late Nils Bohlin, invented the very first three-point seat belt nearly 50 years ago he could not have guessed how many millions of lives this would help to save.

According to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), from 1983 to 2001 road deaths have fallen by 41.9% from 5,934 to 3,450, whilst in that same period the number of vehicles on the road has risen by 45.9% from 22.5 million to 32.8 million.

Volvo became the first manufacturer to fit three-point front seatbelts as standard in all of its cars as early as 1959. And it was the first car company to fit rear seatbelts as standard in 1967, some 22 years before wearing them became compulsory.

Christopher Macgowan, Chief Executive of the SMMT says: “Today is a significant milestone in road safety history. Seatbelts prevent thousands of injuries and deaths every year. So perhaps this is a good opportunity to remind drivers to take one of the most important steps to protect themselves each day and that means buckling up at all times, however short the journey.”

Volvo - A History Of Award-Winning Safety Innovations

The Volvo name is deservedly synonymous with safety in the automotive industry as its many pioneering safety achievements have been saving lives for nearly six decades, since it introduced the safety cage in 1944. Since then it has also been responsible for introducing laminated windscreens (1944), head restraints (1968), impact absorbing bumpers (1973), anti-submarining seats (1982), anti-lock brakes (1984), airbags (1987) and side airbags for both driver and front passenger (1994)*.

Volvo opened its new state-of-the-art, award winning, £59m Safety Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2000, underlining Volvo’s position at the forefront of automotive safety technology with superior testing capabilities to any other car manufacturer.

Published : 31/01/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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