Life saver for 60 years12/11/19
It is 60 years since the first Volvo drivers pulled Nils Bohlin’s three-point seatbelt over their shoulders. The seatbelt is still the world’s most important traffic safety innovation and it is estimated to have saved more than a million lives.
It is somewhat amusing to think that the engineer who invented the seatbelt, which secures drivers in their seats, had previously spent several years throwing them into the air! Because, at the end of the 1950s, when Volvo’s Chief Executive Gunnar Engellau asked Nils Bohlin to invent a device that would make Volvo synonymous with safety, Bohlin was working on ejector seats at Saab’s aircraft section.
In 1958, Volvo Chief Executive Gunnar Engellau, visited the aircraft engineer, Nils Bohlin. The ejector-seat designer was tasked with doing the opposite for Volvo: designing a device that would keep the driver in his seat in the event of a collision. The three-point belt Bohlin developed fitted diagonally from shoulder to hip and then to the other hip. According to Nils Bohlin, the user friendliness of the belt was an important prerequisite for its success.
More lives were saved
Even if Volvo patented this revolutionary invention 1958, it released the technology to allow every vehicle manufacturer to take advantage of it. As a result, even more lives were saved.
In the following year it became standard equipment on the Volvo Amazon passenger car. Sixty years later, the seat belt is a natural part of every vehicle, as well as being the individual innovation that has saved most lives in traffic.
In 1979, seatbelts also became standard in Volvo trucks. According to the Volvo Trucks Safety Report in 2017, half the truck drivers killed in traffic accidents would have survived if they had been wearing their seat belts.
Belts in buses
1992 was the first year in which Volvo buses were equipped with seatbelts on passenger seats.
The trends indicate that, like most other features in vehicles, the seatbelt is going to be smarter and connected. The industry is experimenting with belts that inflate in the event of a collision, belts that adapt to the driver’s body and belts that measure the driver’s values and emit a warning if he or she drops off. Of all the trends, however, there is one that saves most lives: that more and more countries are introducing legislation to make wearing seat belts compulsory.