It’s perhaps something to reflect on when you next get in a car. This week Volvo has celebrated the 50th anniversary of what it describes as ‘the most important automobile safety device ever invented: the three-point safety belt’.


Invented by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin in 1958 and patented in 1959, Volvo says the device has saved more than one million lives and is now standard equipment on every car. Volvo was also the first carmaker in the world to equip its cars with front seat three-point safety belts as standard.


“This is a great day in the history of automotive safety,” said Doug Speck, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. “While the three-point safety belt was not the first safety innovation from Volvo, it certainly has proved to be the most prolific. There really is a little piece of Volvo in every car on the road.”


Even after 50 years of automotive safety innovation, the three-point safety belt remains the most effective protection for occupants in the event of a collision. The belt reduces the risk of fatalities and serious injuries from collisions by about 50 percent.