Here’s a trivia question: Who invented the car seat belt?
The answer? Volvo’s first safety engineer, Nils Bohlin, who invented it in 1959. Prior to this invention, Bohlin designed a catapult ejector seat for airplane pilots.
This month is the 50th anniversary of the three-point safety belt, an invention that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives globally. Volvo also made the patent available to other car makers, because they were convinced of the life-saving potential of this invention.
Of course, just about everybody was against it at first: it added cost to the car, no one wanted to promote cars as “death traps” by saying seat belts were there to save lives, and some people envisioned themselves trapped by a seat belt while a car was aflame or sinking into a watery grave.
Facts eventually won out over emotional responses, and safety experts estimate that seat belts increase your chance of surviving ANY collision by roughly 50 percent (according to a Fox News story).
Of course, these days, there are many more safety precautions available to the average driver: front and side air bags, pre-tensioners which tighten the safety belt straps when a collision is imminent, anti-lock braking system, and cars that talk to you when you’re too close to a wall or to another car.
Nonetheless, all roads lead back to the seat belt. You’re just plain stupid if you don’t use seat belts, and excuses like “it pinches,” or you don’t believe you’ll ever have an accident or you forget just don’t fly.
The facts are that you will more likely die by ejection if you don’t buckle up. If you insist on not using your seat belt, please take out a million dollar life insurance policy for your family and friends. That way, they can at least enjoy some benefit from your being so stubborn!