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Device has saved more than one million lives since introduction in 1959


ROCKLEIGH, N.J.(Aug. 13, 2009) ­­- Today Volvo celebrates the 50th anniversary of 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, 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. A design as obvious as it is intelligent, the three-point belt is perfectly suited to the seat occupant's body. It is the safety belt's ability to keep the occupant in the seat that is of crucial importance.


The three-point seat belt stems from a long line of Volvo safety innovations, many now standard equipment, including multiple grades of steel throughout the vehicle, intelligent airbags, electronic vehicle stability systems, Roll Stability Control (RSC), Driver Alert, Blind Spot Identification System, Lane Departure, Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning and Automatic Braking, just to name a few. Adding another chapter to its safety legacy, in 2009 Volvo introduced what might be termed the world's safest passenger vehicle, the 2010 XC60 T6 AWD, which features City Safety, a low-speed collision avoidance system.


"From Nils Bohlin's invention 50 years ago to City Safety this year, we never stop looking for ways to keep passengers safe," Speck said. "Volvo has always safeguarded the passengers inside its vehicles, and with the introduction of Pedestrian Detection technology in the S60 concept car, our vehicles will be able to detect pedestrians outside the vehicle and reduce the vehicle's speed if the driver does not react to a pedestrian in the roadway."


For additional information on Volvo and its storied safety history, visit


About Volvo

Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (VCNA) is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Corporation of Göteborg, Sweden. VCNA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States, and oversees Volvo operations in Canada.




Media:            Kristin Heinmets, Haberman


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