The History of Seatbelts


When was the first seatbelt birthed? The original seatbelt wasn’t actually invented until the nineteenth century. On February 10, 1885, New York resident, Edward J. Claghorn, was given the first safety belt patent. It was a simple lap strap that used hooks and other attachments to keep people secured to an object.

Almost 75 years later, in 1959, the modern-day seatbelt came on the scene when an engineer at Volvo, Nils Bohlin, invented the three-point seatbelt. It was Volvo that inspired the use of seatbelts by becoming the first manufacturer to provide standard seat belts in all of its vehicles. This is one of the reasons why Volvo is recognized as the safety powerhouse that it is currently known as today.

This safety feature remained as an optional feature for years. Congress finally recognized that many car fatalities were due to not wearing seatbelts and passed a new minimum federal standard for safety belts in 1963 to lessen fatalities. Once these standards were set,
The United States Commerce Department then created many regulations in regards to usage and testing.

The laws regarding safety restraints slowly evolved into the seatbelt laws that we know today since the passage of the first seatbelt federal standards. On December 1, 1984, in New York, the first mandatory law that required car passengers to wear their seatbelts came into effect. Since then, every state has adopted this law. South Dakota and Maine were the last to hop on board in 1995. The number of lives this safety feature has saved is vast even if seatbelt usage isn't as high as it should be. 1 out of 3 people in Europe doesn’t wear seatbelts.

To learn more about the history of seatbelts or if you have any auto repair inquiries, reach out to the team at AutoPro Auto Service. To schedule an appointment, contact us. We are located at 7901 W. River Road in Brooklyn Park, MN. 


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