THE HISTORY OF THE SEAT BELT

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seat belt

The seat belt is everywhere from the car to the passenger aircraft. It was designed to prevent us from falling off when they are an accident and also at some time to prevent a fatal accident to the passenger whether front and back. Little do we know that even the seat belt have a long history dated back in the middle of the 19th centuries. We will look how the tiny belt that had been invented in the past and had been on the main component for the cars even until now.

The seat belt was invented by George Cayley by an English engineer in middle of the 19th centuries. Even though George was credited with the invention but the first patent was granted to Edward J Claghorn on February 10, 1885. The seat belt does not stop there as in 1911 Benjamin Fabulous make an invention for the seat belt in the aircraft that was implemented in all the aircraft in World War 2 time for safety reason.

But the greatest contribution to the car safety was not invented by a car engineer but by a neurologist Dr. C Hunter Shelden. After he saw an increase of the head injuries in his emergency room he comes up with the idea of retractable seat belts and published in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) on 5 November 1955. He also had contributed to recessed steering wheels, reinforced boots, roll bars, door locks and passive restraints such as airbags. The results the United States Congress in 1959 had posed a legislation requiring all automobiles to comply with the Dr. C Hunter Shelden idea and comply with a certain safety standard during that time.

The innovation does not stop there as in 1955 an American engineer Rager W Arisworld and Hugh Dehaven had patented what is now the modern seatbelt. Another innovation this time in Sweden where Vattenfall as make studies on the contributing factor for the excessive fatal injuries for the car passengers in Sweeden and presented to Volvo a Swedish car manufacturer in the late 1950’s. The 3 point seat belt was introduced by Nils Bohlin as a conclusion of the studies by Vattenfall and demonstrated it in a study of 28,000 accident in Sweden and the seated passenger does not have any fatal injuries in an accident that is below 60 mph. Another thing happens in 1970 where the first seat belt law for the car was introduced in Victoria, Australia hence with this making the seat belt compulsory for the drivers and front seat passenger.

In our country Malaysia the law was introduced in 1979 and on 1 January 2009 the government had made it compulsory for the rear seat passenger seat belt but with the exemption of the car that was registered prior to 1 January 1995 all other passengers car must comply with these rules.

Another thing that was introduced was the seatbelt reminder that was installed in the entire car as a sensor in late 2000. The beep, chimes or some car bell-like sound will never stop until the passenger wears the seat belt or until the passenger has driven to a certain speed limit. Some drivers found this annoying and in the end will buckle up the seat belt and this contributed to more than 90% driver using the seat belt.

They are several types of seat belts.

Two Point Seat Belt

A belt that it’s attached to its endpoint

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Lap Seat Belt

Commonly in the airplane seats

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Sash

A sash or should harness that cross diagonally over the vehicle occupant outboard shoulders to the driver’s laps.

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3 point seat belts

Created by Nils Bohlin as the preventative safety due to the excessive accident in Sweden.

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Belt in Seat

3 point harness that attached to the seat rather to the vehicle structure.

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4, 5, 6 point seat belts.

Commonly used in child safety seats and in the racing car.

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With all the innovation, preventative measure and types of seat belt why still some of the drivers do not like to wear the seat belts. First of all the drivers found it disturbing their movement or feeling like be strained while driving compared to not wearing a seat belt. Maybe many of the drivers buckle due to safety purpose, bad experience as maybe they have been caught in summons due to not wearing a seat belt or maybe because of the annoying sound of the seatbelt reminder.

Another thing may be some drivers believe the air bag is sufficient for them as safety. Unfortunately, the airbag does not protect the driver from falling off as it was designed so that the driver will not have any fatal injuries in chest or chin as the airbag will absorb all the impact. The drivers may also believe he is a safe driver whom may not believe in wearing a seat belt as he is driving according to the rules but the other drivers may not be the same. At the end of the day, the drivers will have a choice on whether to wear the seat belt of not.

But the seat belt will protect the drivers from falling over the car if they had caught in a fatal accident. This is one of the reasons the government, legislation , and alert reminder that were installed in the car manufacturer and at the some all parties had worked so hard in the past decade or centuries to make the seat belt one of the most important safety in the car from the old one to the modern car.

The current car may be high tech and have all the latest infotainment system or latest luxuries in the world but one of the oldest technologies that many of them had worked so hard to innovate and had been improved is the seat belts. So when you are driving remember the seat belt is one of the old technologies that still in the car and maybe in the futures car no matter how high tech it will be. Even in the future car, the autonomous drives will have the seat belts installed in it.

So, in this case, buckle up before driving.

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