The three-point seat belt – a life saver

60 years ago, Volvo introduced the three-point seat belt we are familiar with today. Using a seat belt can mean the difference between life and death. Reports show that the chances of surviving a serious road accident are doubled if the driver and passengers take the time to buckle up. Within the EU alone, 7000 lives would be saved every year if more people chose to use a seat belt. This makes the three-point seat belt one of the most important advances in road safety.

A brief history of the seat belt.

Former aviation engineer Nils Bohlin joined Volvo as the company’s first safety expert in the late 1950’s having worked with 3-point harnesses in jet fighters. Attitudes to road safety were vastly different then compared to today, with many drivers believing they were adequately protected simply by sitting inside a vehicle. 

Accidents and fatalities among vehicle occupants was on the rise as the car population and ownership continued to grow. 

It was only a matter of time before Nils and his team began to apply his aviation experience to vehicles. In 1959 Volvo introduced the three point seatbelt we are familiar with today.

Sharing the patent.

The Volvo management team recognised that their latest invention had the potential to save thousands of lives and it was far too important to patent the seat belt design for themselves. The decision was made. Volvo opened their patent and shared it with the world.

Not only has the three-point seat belt been a standard feature in our trucks for many years, today it is an absolute requirement in all trucks and cars. So, you could say that there is a little – but very important – part of Volvo in every vehicle on the road.

Buckle up. Save lives.

The seat belt has been credited with saving more than one million lives and is widely considered among the most cost-effective public health interventions. It has also prevented or reduced the severity of injuries among many millions of other road users.

A study conducted by the Swedish Transport Administration showed that of the 20 unrestrained truck drivers killed in Sweden between 2005 and 2009, 19 would have survived if they had been using their seat belts.

Seat belts save drivers’ lives. Two thirds of drivers use them today. Volvo Trucks is doing everything it can to encourage all drivers to use their seat belts.