The seatbelt turns 50 years old

The seatbelt turns 50 years old

Seatbelt

Thursday 13 August marks the 50th anniversary of the life-saving V-shaped three-point seat belt, invented by Volvo Engineer Nils Bohlin in 1959.
Volvo’s visionary open patent granted free use of the design to all other car manufacturers at the time.
The design is as obvious as it is intelligent. Easily fastened with one hand, it secures the seat’s occupant in place with a belt across the chest and another across the hips – a vast improvement on the previous two-point waist restraint.
Today, the simple ‘click-clack front-and-back’ has been recognised worldwide as the most widely used and significant safety innovation in the automobile’s more than 120 year long history.
Volvo estimates that more than a million people owe their lives to the seat belt, and it has saved many times that number of people from serious injury. It is also recognised as one of the eight patents to have the greatest significance for humanity during the hundred years from 1885 to 1985 by German patent registrars.
Research indicates that vehicle occupants have a 50 per cent better chance of surviving a crash, if they are wearing a seat belt, reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries from collisions. Most countries have now legalised the use of seatbelts for all drivers, although seat belt use in some areas of the world is still as low as 3.8 per cent – the crazy residents of the island of Sakhalin in Russia flirt with death.

Timeline

1959 Three -point safety belt in the front, a Volvo innovation

1967 Safety belts fitted as standard, rear

1969 Three -point inertia-reel safety belts, front

1971 Seat belt reminders, front

1972 Three -point safety belts, rear

1986 Three -point safety belts, rear middle seat

1987 Mechanical belt pre-tensioner

1991 Automatic height adjustment for safety belts, front

1992 Pyrotechnical belt pre-tensioners, front

1993 Three -point inertia-reel safety belts in all seats

1996 Force limiters in safety belts, front

Seatbelt

Thursday 13 August marks the 50th anniversary of the life-saving V-shaped three-point seat belt, invented by Volvo Engineer Nils Bohlin in 1959.
Volvo’s visionary open patent granted free use of the design to all other car manufacturers at the time.
The design is as obvious as it is intelligent. Easily fastened with one hand, it secures the seat’s occupant in place with a belt across the chest and another across the hips – a vast improvement on the previous two-point waist restraint.
Today, the simple ‘click-clack front-and-back’ has been recognised worldwide as the most widely used and significant safety innovation in the automobile’s more than 120 year long history.
Volvo estimates that more than a million people owe their lives to the seat belt, and it has saved many times that number of people from serious injury. It is also recognised as one of the eight patents to have the greatest significance for humanity during the hundred years from 1885 to 1985 by German patent registrars.
Research indicates that vehicle occupants have a 50 per cent better chance of surviving a crash, if they are wearing a seat belt, reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries from collisions. Most countries have now legalised the use of seatbelts for all drivers, although seat belt use in some areas of the world is still as low as 3.8 per cent – the crazy residents of the island of Sakhalin in Russia flirt with death.

Timeline

1959 Three -point safety belt in the front, a Volvo innovation

1967 Safety belts fitted as standard, rear

1969 Three -point inertia-reel safety belts, front

1971 Seat belt reminders, front

1972 Three -point safety belts, rear

1986 Three -point safety belts, rear middle seat

1987 Mechanical belt pre-tensioner

1991 Automatic height adjustment for safety belts, front

1992 Pyrotechnical belt pre-tensioners, front

1993 Three -point inertia-reel safety belts in all seats

1996 Force limiters in safety belts, front

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