The Evolution Of Safety Features In Cars (2024)

The Evolution Of Safety Features In Cars

The first models and designs for automobiles were created in the 15thcentury 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 theauto accident attorneysat O'Connor, Acciani & Levy can help you. We offer 100% FREE case reviews and we only get paid when we win.

Call us today at(877) 288-3241or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form now to begin your 100% free, totally confidential consultation.

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.

  • 1934General Motors performs the first crash test
  • 1947The first padded dashboard is built by American Tucker
  • 1949The Saab 92 is the first car produced with a safety cage
  • 1949The Chrysler Crown Imperial is the first car to include standard disc brakes
  • 1958The UN establishes the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, to advance auto safety through a body of international standards
  • 1959Volvo introduces the first 3-point seat belt as standard, forever changing safety features in cars
  • 1964Front outboard lap belts become required
  • 1964Volvo introduces the first rear-facing child safety seat (RFCSS)
  • 1966padded dashboards, front and rear outboard lap belts and white reverse lights become mandatory
  • 1966The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board are founded
  • 1967Major fleet purchasers encourage a number of safety features to be voluntarily installed in new vehicles
  • 1968The first Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are established, making collapsible steering columns, side marker lights and front-seat shoulder belts mandatory in all vehicles
  • 1969Front outboard head restraints (or headrests) become mandatory in order to reduce the severity of whiplash
  • 1970Ford offers a rear-wheel Anti-Lock Brake system on the Lincoln Continental
  • 1974General Motors offers optional driver and passenger airbags
  • 1979The NHTSA begins crash-testing and publishing results
  • 1984New York passes the first seat-belt law
  • 1986Third brake lights become standard
  • 1994Crash-tests become mandatory for all vehicles
  • 1995Maine becomes the 49thstate 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
  • 1995The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) begins frontal offset crash-testing
  • 2003The IIHS begins side impact crash-testing
  • 2004The NHTSA establishes new rollover risk tests for new cars and SUVs
  • 2009Citroen 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.

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

You deserve to know your legal rights. Find out how ourpersonal injury lawyerscan help you call us today at(877) 288-3241.

To start your Free Case Evaluation immediately, simply fill out our form at the top of this page.

The Evolution Of Safety Features In Cars (2024)


How have car safety features changed over time? ›

Air bag placement in vehicles has also changed to protect occupants better. Frontal air bags were widely adopted by 1987 and have since saved more than 50,000 lives. Now, many car manufacturers offer side air bags, or side curtain air bags, as standard or optional equipment.

When did cars start having safety features? ›

1950s. Some of the main safety features we use in today's cars were introduced in the 1950s. For example, the airbag was first created in 1951 by Walter Linderer. In 1959, Volvo introduced the three-point seatbelt.

How effective are car safety features? ›

According to the National Safety Council, based on current data, car safety feature technologies have the potential to prevent 20,841 deaths each year. This equates to around 62% of total traffic accident deaths.

Why do cars have safety features? ›

Not only do they protect the occupants of the vehicle, but they also safeguard pedestrians and other road users. Safety features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warnings, and rearview cameras have become standard in most modern vehicles.

How did car change over time? ›

The first cars didn't have windshields, doors, turn signals, or even a round steering wheel. It wasn't until Henry Ford's 1908 Model T that automobiles started to resemble our modern idea of a car. Thanks to the assembly line, the gas-powered Model T could be mass-produced and became affordable for the average person.

How much has car safety improved? ›

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation shows how advances in car safety have reduced the number of motor vehicle fatalities. The data shows the number of fatalities for every 100 million miles driven, has fallen from a high of 5.2 in 1960 to 1.1. in 2019.

What is the history of the safety car? ›

The first official Safety Car was a Porsche 914/6 deployed at the Canadian Grand Prix in 1973. Since then, Formula One has used various cars to fulfill the role, including a Lamborghini Countach at the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix. More unlikely cars included the Ford Escort Cosworth, a Renault Clio, and the Fiat Tempra.

Which car safety features are most important? ›

The most important thing you can do to protect your life is to buckle your seatbelt. Safety belts save lives on their own and many of the more advanced safety features, such as forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking can help you avoid accidents.

What makes vehicles safer? ›

Belts, airbags and head restraints all work together with a vehicle's structure to stabilize and protect people in serious crashes, reducing the chance you'll slam into something hard or get ejected from the crashing vehicle and be injured or killed.

When did cars get safer? ›

It really wasn't until about 1968 that safety became government mandated in the US, with seat belts, padded dashes, collapsable steering columns, dual master cylinder brakes, side marker lights, and many other items now being standard equipment.

Are 20 year old cars safe? ›

It's a statistical fact that cars become less safe to drive as they age. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, the driver of a vehicle that's 18 years old or older has a 71 percent greater chance of dying in a bad car crash compared to a driver who drives a three-year-old car.

What is the safest new car? ›

  • 2024 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Winners. Small Cars. Acura Integra. Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan. Toyota Prius. Midsized Cars. Honda Accord. Hyundai Ioniq 6. Large Luxury Car. ...
  • 2024 IIHS Top Safety Pick Winners. Small Cars. Hyundai Elantra. Subaru Impreza. Toyota Prius Prime. Midsized Cars. Hyundai Sonata. Subaru Outback. Toyota Camry.
May 6, 2024

Why is vehicle safety so important? ›

However, automobile accidents have still been the leading cause of injuries and death in most countries. Car safety also pertains to necessary car safety features. This is incorporated in your car to protect you and other passengers from injury and death during a collision or crash.

What is a safety feature? ›

a feature of a product, etc, designed to ensure or increase its safety. Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers.

How are cars tested for safety? ›

Vehicles are tested in head-on collisions, rear-end, and side-impact crashes. Manufacturers run their own set of simulated accidents and can make adjustments based on the feedback from crash tests conducted by NHTSA and the IIHS, which are the agencies responsible for vetting vehicles.

How have airbags improved car safety? ›

Air bags reduce the chance that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle's interior during a crash. To avoid an air-bag-related injury, make sure you are properly seated and remember—air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them.

What are the safety features of cars in the 2000s? ›

In the 2000s, car safety took a leap into the future with the debut of autonomous systems. These include features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. While still having room for improvement, these systems represent a significant step towards fully autonomous vehicles.

What year did cars become much safer? ›

It really wasn't until about 1968 that safety became government mandated in the US, with seat belts, padded dashes, collapsable steering columns, dual master cylinder brakes, side marker lights, and many other items now being standard equipment.

How have the changes made in car design been in terms of saving lives during car crashes? ›

Along with crumple zones, other modern design factors and improvements have helped to make cars safer. Seat belts, air bags, head restraints and interior features redesigned to be more flexible, cushioned and rounded all help to minimize injuries and protect drivers and passengers in a crash.

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