Monday, January 21, 2008

Seat Belt History by One Stop Motors Research


We all remember Britney spears making headlines for driving with her son on her lap without a seat belt. Yes, seat belts have put as many people in trouble as many it has saved.

Today, seat belt security has saved over 50,000 lives all over the world. So who first came up with this novel idea? The history of seat belts dates back to 1800 when George Cayley introduced seat belts for the first time. Seat belts were not used in cars until 1930 when American physicians equipped their cars with safety belts and also advocated its usage. Before these seat belts were mostly used in aero planes and were considered as something that help a person stick to a fix object while maneuvering the aero plane. Seatbelts did not serve the purpose of protecting on collision but just kept the person on wheels in a fix position especially during racing.

Edward J. Claghorn was granted U.S. Patent 312,085 on February 10, 1885 for a safety belt. Engineer Hugo De Haven invented the inertia reel and introduced the concept of packaging passengers. Col. John P Stapp tested working of seat belts and proposed that most people are not killed on plane hitting ground or car collision, but rather hitting inside elements of air plane or a car. By 1954, the Sports car club of America required its participants to wear lap belts during races, and automotive engineers appointed a vehicle seat belt committee.

Some U.S. manufacturers provided automatic locking retractors (ALRs) in front seat belts. Edward J. Hock invented the safety belt first used by the Ford Motor Company as standard equipment. Most U.S. manufacturers provided lap belts at front outboard seat positions. Three point seat belt was patented in 1951 by Hugo De Haven, but not much is known about its practical usage in cars. The first car manufacturer to introduce car seat belts as standard was Saab in 1958. After this, the three point seat belt was seen in Volvo in 1958.

Until the late 1960s and early 1970s, the automotive industry in the U.S. was almost entirely unregulated, and concern over traffic safety had been minimal. In 1965 about 56,000 people were victims of car collision. Seat belts were applauded not only in America but Europe as well. By 1966 it was made compulsory to install seat belts in front seats of a car. By 1964 American cars were sold with safety belts in the front only, but later in 1968 safety belts in rear seats were standardized. In 1970, the state of Victoria, Australia passed a world wide legislation that made wearing seat belt compulsory. By the end of 1980s rear seat belts were made standard and wearing them was made compulsory for children under 14. Safety belts were also introduced in mini buses and coaches, especially those carrying school children.

Today, all car and mini coaches come with seat belts and 2003 marked the 20th anniversary of safety belts usage where it has saved over 50,000 lives and counting. The journey does not stop here. Automobile manufacturers are coming up with new innovative ideas to make cars safer. The lap belt or three point seat belts have been replaced by more complicated and sophisticated technologies. Most cars in USA come with safety belt reminders that buzz until the driver fastens his seat belt. Safety belt legislation has also managed to put a strict check on drivers. The effects of seat belt laws are disputed by some, stemming from observed finding that following the passage of seat belt laws, road fatalities often did not decrease. However, it is still strongly advised to fasten your seat belts when driving.

As with adult drivers and passengers, the advent of seat belts was accompanied by calls for their use by child occupants, including legislation requiring such use. As responsible citizens, we must respect law and use safety belts in order to protect our family and fellow passengers.

1 comment:

Lesly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.