Car Culture

Seat Belt Safety

March 17, 2017
  Nowadays, most everyone has become accustomed to how important seat belts are. However, it wasn’t always this way (and some still seem immune to their imperative safety importance). The history of this lifesaving feature is fascinating! Our world has come a long way, yet still has room for improvement. Take a look at how the seat belt has evolved.  
  • 1885: The first seat belt becomes patented. The idea of seat belts had been introduced here and there, but Edward J. Claghorn catches the first patent for a seat belt type invention.
 
  • 1885 – 1920s: Seat belts make their debut into the world of flying.
 
  • 1930s: Lap belts emerge. U.S. physicians recognize their importance and begin urging automotive manufacturers to install them in their vehicles.
 
  • 1950s: Seatbelts sort of start to be included by some manufacturers. However, the general public is not enthused by the new safety feature. Manufacturers like Volvo, Ford and Chrysler offer seat belts with their new models, but they remain optional to the consumers. The racing world recognizes their safety importance and the Sports Car Club of America mandated that drivers wear lap belts in competition.
 
  • 1965: Europe implores that all cars manufactured must include front seat belts, setting a good example for the rest of the world.
 
  • 1970: Seat belts become a standard. The general public is still not enthused by the idea. Many arguments erupt about the seat belt’s purpose and actual benefits.
 
  • 1989: The importance of seat belts have started to become more realized and accepted. 34 states have established seat belt usage laws by now.
 
  • 1993: The “Click It or Ticket” campaign is introduced in North Carolina. Since then, many states have adopted this campaign to promote seat belt safety and their importance.
 
  • 1995: New Hampshire is the only state left that hasn’t issued a seat belt law. It now is the only U.S. state that does not require adults to wear a seat belt.
 
  • 2010: Seat belt usage peaks. Research finds that seat belt use reaches its peak at 85 percent.
 
  • 2016: Seat belt usage has increased to 90.1 percent overall! Seat belt usage has shown an increasing trend. Surveys have found that seat belt use is higher in the west than other regions.
  Wearing a seat belt is imperative for your safety. So, whether it is required by law for you to wear one or not, you should. Statistics show that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatality by 45 percent and risk of injury by 50 percent. Don’t take a 50/50 gamble with your life–wear your seatbelt! If you’d like to see a more detailed timeline of seat belt history, continue your reading here.

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