GOTHENBURG, Sweden – It was 60 years ago this year Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seat belt while working at Volvo.
Now a standard feature in all vehicles, the seat belt is seen as the world´s most important traffic safety innovation ever and is estimated to have saved more than 1 million lives.
A lot more lives would have been saved if everyone had buckled up, said Anna Wrige Berling, Volvo Truck’s newly appointed traffic and product safety director.
“The record shows that there would be so many fewer casualties if all drivers used their belts,” she said.
Bohlin, who previously worked for the Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab, used his skills in developing emergency ejection seats to design the seat belt.
Although his design was patented, Volvo made it available to all vehicle manufacturers to use for free.
“This rather unconventional decision was made in the greater interest of public safety, to ensure that everyone, independently of whether they drove a Volvo or not, could be safer in traffic. This decision proved to be very beneficial to the world,” Volvo said in a statement marking the anniversary.
Still seat belt usage among heavy truck occupants is far from 100%, the company said.
“The Volvo Trucks Safety Report for 2017 showed that half of all truck drivers killed in traffic accidents would have survived if they had been wearing their seat belt,” said Wrige Berling.
She said some truck drivers mistakenly believe that there is no need for a belt in a truck, due to the size of the vehicle.