Volvo marks 60 years of saving lives with seat belts

by Truck News

Nils Bohlin

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.



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  • Can you imagine , it’s been “68 years” that the 3 point safety seat belt has been invented and it will only be implemented in school buses and buses over 68 years after its invention !

    For your information ………..

    “An early three-point safety belt restraining the chest and the lap by an additional belt had, however, previously been designed by two Americans, Roger Griswold and Hugh De Haven, in 1951,. However, once again, the buckle remained in the middle.”

    “Nils Bohlin was the first to design a three-point safety belt that fastened by the occupant’s hip rather than over the abdomen.

    Buckles, which were previously placed over the abdomen, often caused internal injuries in high-speed crashes. Bohlin had previously worked for the aircraft maker Saab where he helped to develop ejection seats and used his experience there to design a model that would be easy and fast to use.”

    Therefore , Nils Bohlin DID NOT INVENT the three-point seat belt while working at Volvo as the article above states . He simply was the first to design the 3 point seat belt that fastened at the hip rather than over the abdomen .

    And we shouldn’t forget about the major contributions that Dr. C. Hunter Shelden made to the automotive industry .

    The actual seatbelt idea was invented much earlier in the 19th century by an engineer for use on his “glider” ………..

    On another note :

    Due to the size of a semi truck there should be more than a safety belt to protect a driver in a collision . Aside from many other safety features that should be included , a roll cage is by far one that would increase the survival rate. A seat belt does not prevent a driver from being crushed in the vehicle in a collision .

    Replace the top speed from a Nascar race car with an increase in weight at a 3rd of the speed and it would be equivalent to a semi hauling approximately 80,000 to 100,000 pounds at 100km/h .

    You don’t send drivers out in tin cabs with that sort of weight and speed without a roll cage !

    In my humble opinion .