Who invented 3 point Seat Belt

Widespread acceptance of the modern safety belt, invented in August 1959, combined with road safety legislation, led to a huge decrease in car accident fatalities. 3 Point Seat Belt Invention Enhanced Road Safety.

who invented seat belts in cars

In August 1959, Nils Bohlin, an auto safety engineer with Volvo car makers of Sweden, designed a simple, convenient and effective 3 point seat belt that would win widespread acceptance among the public and would go on to save millions of lives.

Volvo was the first car manufacturer that offered the modern safety belt as standard in 1963 and now the 3 point seat belt is a standard feature in automobiles. Because of their belief that it would reduce car accident injuries Volvo made the patent available to all car makers.

Seat Belt Safety Statistics

As the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, published by the World Health Organization in 2004 says, “The use of seat-belts has been one of the most effective road safety measures ever implemented, saving more lives than any other intervention.”

Seat Belt and Child Restraints, published by the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society, in May 2009 states, “Road traffic injuries are a major public health problem and a leading cause of death and injury around the world. Approximately 1.2 million people are killed each year in road crashes worldwide, with up to 50 million more injured.”

Figures from Seat Belts and Child Restraints show that the use of seat belts reduces the chances of drivers and front seat passengers being killed by a factor of up to 50% and by nearly 25% for rear seat passengers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) factsheet “Traffic Safety Facts 2007” states, “From 1975 through 2007, NHTSA estimates that seat belts saved 241,789 passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older, including 15,147 lives saved in 2007. If all passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 wore seat belts, 20,171 lives (that is, an additional 5,024) could have been saved in 2007.”

Seat Belt Sense, published by Transport Canada in March 2007 claims, “The 7% of Canadians not wearing seat belts account for almost 40% of fatalities in vehicle collisions.”

Seat Belt Usage

The fact that seat belts are a boon to the health of car passengers is not in doubt. Unfortunately seat belts are effective only when used and that use varies widely.

The NHTSA Factsheet “Seat Belt Use in 2008 – Use Rate in the States and Territories” shows that while the overall figures for seat belt use in the United States is 83%, nationally this varies from a low of 55% in American Samoa to a high of 97% in Michigan.

In Europe, statistics from the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention shows that usage varies from a high of 93% in the United Kingdom and Germany to a lows of under 60% for Albania and Bulgaria.

Transport Canada’s factsheet, TP 2436ERS-2008-01”, published in January 2008 shows that overall up to 92% of Canadians use seat belts.

Seat Belt Legislation

The World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention makes a strong case for the effectiveness of seat belt legislation

After the world’s first mandatory seat belt law was passed in Victoria, Australia, in 1971, car occupant deaths fell by 18% in the following year and by 26% four years later.

In the United Kingdom front passenger seat belt usage was made mandatory in 1983. Usage jumped from 37% to over 95% shortly afterwards.

The United States allows each State to set seat belt laws. The first mandatory belt use law was in New York State in 1984. Seat belt laws are now in effect in 49 states and the District of Columbia, although the severity of the law differs from state to state.

In the year 2000, seat belt use in Korea was a dismal 23%. After the introduction of mandatory seat belt laws and very stiff fines seat belt use rose to over 95%.

Fifty years after its invention, the 3 point seat belt has been responsible for major improvements in automobile safety. Because of its quick acceptance by motorists and its obvious safety benefits, the seat belt has paved the way for many other car safety features such as headrests, airbags and child restraint seats.

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