Saving a life can be so simple: grab, stretch, click! If you are wearing a safety belt, your chances of surviving a collision improve by 50 percent. The three-point belt is and will remain the car's most vital safety detail. However, even more lives could be saved if belt usage increased.
Few people have saved as many lives as Nils Bohlin - the Volvo engineer who in 1959 invented the V-type three-point safety belt. A design as obvious as it was intelligent, perfectly suited to the seat occupant's body. To this very day, the safety belt still provides the most effective protection in the event of an accident.
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.
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.