Tuesday 10th July 1962
The US Patent Office issued a patent for a three-point automobile safety belt “for use in vehicles, especially road vehicles” to Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin. In 1958, Sweden’s Volvo Car Corporation had hired Bohlin, as the company’s first chief safety engineer. At the time, safety-belt use in cars was limited mostly to race car drivers using a traditional two-point belt, which fastened in a buckle over the abdomen. This was shown to cause severe internal injuries in the event of a high-speed crash. Bohlin designed his three-point system in less than a year, and Volvo introduced it on its cars in 1959. Consisting of two straps that joined at the hip level and fastened into a single anchor point, the newer system significantly reduced injuries by effectively holding both the upper and lower body while reducing the effect of the swift deceleration that occurred in a crash.