Happy Birthday to the Seatbelt

Apr 14, 2009
50 years ago, a Volvo engineer invented what we now know as the three-point seatbelt. The seat belt has undoubtedly saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but some experts counter that it may also be the cause of many accidents.

Sound strange? William Exkenberger of Smithsonian magazine theorizes that due to “risk compensation,” people who wear their seatbelts feel more prone to dangerous activity since they feel more secure. When a driver feels safer because they are wearing their seatbelt, they tend to make choices that they wouldn’t if they were not wearing their seatbelt.

We always encourage our drivers to buckle their seatbelts, and hope you do the same. Consider the following statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
  • Seatbelt usage nationwide was 83% in 2008
  • The NHTSA estimates that 15,147 lives were saved in 2007 by the use of seat belts.
  • If all passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 wore seat belts, 20,171 lives (that is, an additional 5,024) could have been saved in 2007
  • In 2007, 33 percent of passenger car occupants and 37 percent of light-truck occupants involved in fatal crashes were unrestrained

Photo copyright of Rebecca Herbster and used under the Creative Commons license