The first models and designs for automobiles were created in the 15th century by none other than Leonardo da Vinci, and the state of the global auto industry has evolved significantly since. First steam, to electric, gasoline, and today’s hybrids, the evolution of safety features in cars plays an essential role in reducing the once overwhelming number of injuries and damages resulting from auto accidents. Auto manufacturers have come a long way over the history of auto safety, paving the way for improved global safety standards.
Unfortunately, as a vehicle ages, a number of factors come into play that reduce the automobiles safety, aside from mechanical wear and tear. According to statistics, a driver is 10 times as likely to suffer fatal injuries in a collision while operating a 30-year-old vehicle versus a late model. The auto industry is continually working to improve the safety of current mechanisms, as well as developing and testing new ideas for safer vehicles. Developments in driving technology and new types of airbags have been prevalent just this year.
If you have been involved in an auto accident that was not your fault, you may have grounds for legal action. Find out how the auto accident attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can help you. We offer 100% FREE case reviews and we only get paid when we win.
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The Road To Safe Vehicles
While the ultimate safe vehicle may be a long way off, American auto manufacturers have made significant strides in improving the overall security and protection a vehicles structure provides. Over the past 3 decades, fatal accidents in the U.S. have decreased by more than 1/5, a substantial decrease demonstrating immense progress in terms of the safety features in cars.
The need to revolutionize auto safety was not fully realized until the 1950s, when the first usable airbags were developed, among other safety mechanisms. Then, in 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was created. The organization still uses the same name today, and continues its role in promoting and effectively executing driving safety regulations throughout the U.S. Whether creating new policies or revising existing regulations (at the state and federal level), the NHTSA and the United States have been true catalysts in the history of car safety.
Safety Features In Cars: A Timeline
The history of auto manufacturing has revolutionized since the 50s, but motor vehicle collisions are unfortunately still a leading cause of death for Americans and citizens across the globe. As the NHTSA and other regulators work to improve safety conditions in automobiles, we reflect on the history that has led us to today’s safety features.
Below is a list of the renovations, tweaks, modifications and adjustments that have taken place to improve the modern vehicle in the U.S. since the 1930s. The great strides that have been made are enough to be appreciated by any motorist, and we can look forward to a future when the safety features from the varied major automobile manufacturers combine to create a vehicle safe enough to effectively reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by motor vehicles.
- 1934 General Motors performs the first crash test
- 1947 The first padded dashboard is built by American Tucker
- 1949 The Saab 92 is the first car produced with a safety cage
- 1949 The Chrysler Crown Imperial is the first car to include standard disc brakes
- 1958 The UN establishes the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, to advance auto safety through a body of international standards
- 1959 Volvo introduces the first 3-point seat belt as standard, forever changing safety features in cars
- 1964 Front outboard lap belts become required
- 1964 Volvo introduces the first rear-facing child safety seat (RFCSS)
- 1966 padded dashboards, front and rear outboard lap belts and white reverse lights become mandatory
- 1966 The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board are founded
- 1967 Major fleet purchasers encourage a number of safety features to be voluntarily installed in new vehicles
- 1968 The first Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are established, making collapsible steering columns, side marker lights and front-seat shoulder belts mandatory in all vehicles
- 1969 Front outboard head restraints (or headrests) become mandatory in order to reduce the severity of whiplash
- 1970 Ford offers a rear-wheel Anti-Lock Brake system on the Lincoln Continental
- 1974 General Motors offers optional driver and passenger airbags
- 1979 The NHTSA begins crash-testing and publishing results
- 1984 New York passes the first seat-belt law
- 1986 Third brake lights become standard
- 1994 Crash-tests become mandatory for all vehicles
- 1995 Maine becomes the 49th state to pass a seat belt law covering all occupants; New Hampshire remains the only state that hasn’t passed a law requiring adults to wear a safety belt
- 1995 The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) begins frontal offset crash-testing
- 2003 The IIHS begins side impact crash-testing
- 2004 The NHTSA establishes new rollover risk tests for new cars and SUVs
- 2009 Citroen introduces Intelligent Anti-Skid system Snowmotion
In recent years, many new advances in technology have been introduced that may become mandatory safety features in new cars in the near future. Examples include backup cameras, blind-spot detectors, sensors to alert a driver drifting into another lane, and dual-stage airbags.
Contact Our Ohio Law Firm
Auto safety has come a long way since the first automobiles were imagined, designed and developed for the road. Ohio drivers saw the safest year on record in 2011 (the last year for which data has been published), but unfortunately, nearly 300,000 accidents still occurred on our roads. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle collision, you may be eligible to pursue compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death case.
O’Connor, Acciani & Levy is proud to be Ohio’s auto accident law firm, and we offer more than 3 decades of experience and steadfast dedication to protecting our clients rights. We are proud of our reputation for successfully pursuing justice for accident victims like you.
Our offices are located throughout Ohio and Northern Kentucky, and we proudly accept clients from the following communities:
- Columbus, OH
- Cincinnati, OH
- Covington, KY
To start your Free Case Evaluation immediately, simply fill out our form at the top of this page.