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History on How Seat Belts Came to Be

Our first instinct whenever we hop in our vehicles is to buckle up. But have you ever stopped to think, "When did people start doing this" and "Were seat belts always in cars". Today, we will answer those questions and do a deep dive into the history of how seat belts became a norm. 


It all started in the late 1800s. The seat belt was first invented by an English engineer named George Cayley, but it was not intended for motor vehicles at the time. Alternatively, it was invented to assist stop pilots from falling out of their gliders. The first "seat belt," or lap belt intended for motor vehicle usage, wasn't patented until 1855 by American Edward J. Claghorn. He wanted to keep travelers safe, especially for those that depend on New York taxis. Unfortunately, seat belts weren't widely popular until the mid-1930s, when seat belts were tested for safety. After many tests and studies, doctors finally urged vehicle manufacturers into adding lap belts in all automobiles.


It wasn't until 1959 that Volvo invented the three-point seat belt, similar to the ones we use today. Nils Bohlin, a Swedish creator, developed it, and he made this belt to keep both the upper and lower body intact. It wasn't long after when American vehicles were required to have seat belts. Before 1966, vehicle companies offered seat belts as an accessory, and people could even purchase them at their local gas stations. However, by 1975, most first-world countries followed the US and had the seat belt requirements for all their automobiles.


Even when all vehicles were equipped with seat belts, people were not sold on using them every day. Many people would ignore it, which led to many casualties in America. Thankfully, New York was the first state to require everyone to wear seat belts in 1984. It wasn't until 1995 that every state had adopted the "Click it or Ticket" laws. 


Now you know, it took almost an entire century for the seat belt to develop and policymakers to realize their significance. Thanks to seat belts, people saw vehicle crash fatality rates decrease in significant numbers. Besides buckling up, there are other actions you can take to ensure your safety on the road. For instance, you should bring your vehicle in for regular service to ensure everything is running correctly. Maintenance services are especially emphasized when your car is approaching the 30,000, 60,000, or 90,000-mile mark. We invite you to give us a call or visit Oswald Service, Inc. today.