It's hard to imagine that safety in automobiles used to be an afterthought in the era before lane-departure warning systems and radar-guided automatic braking. The three-point seat belt, the most significant safety innovation ever created, was given away by Volvo, a company whose reputation was built on selling safer cars.
Nils Bohlin, a Volvo engineer, invented the modern seat belt in 1959, according to the UK autos website Arnold Clark. Back then, seat belts were simple two-point waist restraints, and they frequently caused more harm than good in collisions.
Former Saab aviation engineer Bohlin specialized in ejector seats. He created a seat belt that could be worn over the torso as well as the driver's lap. The Volvo Amazon and Volvo PV544, which are both depicted to the right, were the first vehicles to feature the design in the Nordic market. In 1963, it arrived in the United States.
It was a ground-breaking creation, and just the patents alone could have made Volvo a fortune.
But why didn't Volvo do that? They decided the patent was too significant to keep to themselves and gave it away as a result. In the narrative:
The three-point seatbelt's widespread use is actually a result of Volvo opening up the patent so that any automaker could incorporate it into their design. They came to the conclusion that because the invention was so important, it should be given away for free rather than sold for a profit.
According to a citation from Volvo's managing director Alan Dessell, "The decision to release the three-point seat belt patent was visionary and in line with Volvo's guiding principle of safety."
Bohlin persisted in pushing for ongoing safety enhancements like side impact protection and rear seat belts while working for Volvo until 1985. A few years after being honored with a gold medal by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science and being inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, he passed away in 2002. Volvo claimed more than a million people have been saved by his seatbelt design globally four years ago.
So, if a three-point seat belt has ever saved your life, you can thank Bohlin for it as well as Volvo for prioritizing the safety of people over financial gain.
We assume it to be true. In fact, it's become established in our lives that we hardly ever give it any thought. We enter our vehicles, fasten our Volvo seat belts, and pull away from our driveways without ever pausing to consider who created the seat belt.
The standard 3-point seat belt that comes with every one of our cars is a lifesaving safety feature that is so widely used that many manufacturers don't even list it on their list of required safety features. Who would do that? Every new vehicle is expected to include a seat belt. Of course, every one of the brand-new Volvo vehicles we have available for purchase has a Volvo seat belt. And for good cause. In 1959, Volvo Cars offered the first vehicle with a seatbelt.
Volvo Seat Belt Saving Many Lives
No other safety feature comes close to saving as many lives as the Volvo seat belt, despite the fact that modern cars are loaded with driver-assist safety features and advanced airbag systems that help us keep our eyes on the road and our hands on the wheel. Perhaps the most significant automotive safety feature ever created is this one. And we do so each time we enter our brand-new Volvo V60 wagon.
How often should seat belts be replaced?
Because there is no easy way to predict how well an older seat belt will perform in a crash, it is recommended that the seat belts in your vehicle be inspected and replaced every 10-15 years. Contact our Volvo parts store for Volvo seat belt replacement.