Some principles never change. And after 80 years of safety advances from Volvo, the philosophy expressed by the company's founders is more appropriate than ever: "Cars are driven by people. Therefore the guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo is - and must remain - safety"(Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson)
Many people believe the three-point safety belt has not changed over the past forty years. They are right. And wrong. The belt's ingeniously simple basic design is the same. The difference today is that the belt is part of a high-tech safety system under constant development.
On Thursday August 13, 1959, the world's first car with standard-fit three-point safety belts - a Volvo PV544 - was delivered to the Volvo dealer in the Swedish town of Kristianstad. Over the next 50 years, the V-shaped three-point safety belt saved well over one million lives.
His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent has awarded Volvo Cars a special international award(1) to mark the 50th Anniversary of the invention of the three-point safety belt and in acknowledgement of the company's vision to design cars that should not crash.
Volvo Cars was invited to donate its historic three-point safety belt to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The museum will officially accept the gift at a ceremony today, July 14. The safety belt is part of a larger collection from eight different donors in which each article represents a significant aspect of 75 years of safety-enhancement work in the car industry.