In the early twentieth century, the groundbreaking technology—the automobile, became widely accessible to the masses worldwide. The individual freedom of movement changed the dynamics of how the world would function both economically and socially.
Although the advent of automobiles was a blessing, it did come with certain risks that we might not have expected. In its beginnings, the power of the vehicle and speed were not so well controlled by the individual driving the car—which is why traffic-related deaths and injuries were observed, eliciting concern from the general public and authorities.
There were quite a few reasons that were factored into causing accidents in the early twentieth century. Some of them were driving behaviour, automobile design, roads, highway design, and traffic flow dangers. It was not entirely clear what caused these accidents, but it’s no secret that there is a considerable difference between the cars our parents drove vs. the cars we drive today.
We will be discussing how automobiles have transitioned over the years with increased safety features to ensure the driver and passengers remain safe in the case of an accident. In addition, we will be highlighting the newer features that have been added over time and more!
CHANGES IN CAR SAFETY FEATURES OVER THE YEARS:
Let’s discuss the addition of features keeping critical dates in mind so that you know precisely when these changes were implemented:
As a result of the numerous accidents between 1910-1920, such as pedestrian casualties, the National Safety Council made it their mission to highlight the importance of attentive driving to avoid undesirable car accident situations. They highlighted drunk driving, speeding, and reckless driving as some of the major causes behind these accidents. Persons involved in car accidents might require the help of motor vehicle accident lawyers Perth with their personal injury claims.
As a result, car manufacturers realized that the missing safety features were another reason these accidents resulted in injuries and casualties. As a response, they started adding safety features such as four-wheel brakes compared to the previous two-wheel brakes that were installed. Additionally, they installed shatter-resistant windshields so that the passenger isn’t forced out when an accident occurs.
Later on, in the 1930s, the idea of car safety evolved further as the manufacturers started adding more safety elements in the vehicles, such as hydraulic brakes and all-steel bodies. One odd thing to note is that even though seatbelts were invented in the 1930s, they were still not added by any car manufacturers. With the newer brakes and steel bodies installed, the car companies wanted to ensure that the vehicles remained entirely secure while driving.
During the 1950s, university professors and physicians led a scientific response to increase protection for motorists. For example, the bodily impact an accident results in after a collision was tested in universities, and as a consequence, more safety features were added to cars. The two key features introduced in 1956 were padded dashboards and seat belts, and in a short span of time, every automaker made sure the sold vehicles offered these safety features.
Niles Bohn designed and crafted a three-point seat belt which was included in the Volvo Amazon, which was the first vehicle that had the three-point belt in all its models. The outcome was amazing; survival percentage rates spiked up by fifty percent. As a result, Volvo decided on getting the seat belt patented and offered to other manufacturers. This helped them solidify their name in the automobile industry globally as one of the most secure vehicle manufacturers out there.
The very same year, it was made compulsory by the United States that every vehicle sold must be equipped with the new safety belt feature. In the late 60s, it became an obvious concept that vehicles come with safety belts, but the ironic part is that motorists did not leverage it until the 1990s. Seat belt legislation in Canada is left to the discretion of each state. On January 1, 1976, Ontario became the first state to pass legislation. The Yukon was the most recent adopter, enacting the act on July 1, 1991.
One crucial aspect of car safety in unwanted car collisions was the need for airbags. Researchers started developing prototypes in the 80s, and since then, they have progressed severely in terms of quality and application. More car manufacturers began doing their research, and some manufacturers such as Ford and Chrysler offered airbags to purchasers, and carmakers such as Porsche added passenger airbags as a standard safety measure as well.
In 1998, the United States government made it compulsory that every vehicle, be it sedans, hatchbacks, or trucks – must comprise an airbag in the front end of the vehicle. All manufacturers paid great attention to this and ensured that they implemented this standard from that point onwards.
1990s – Current Times:
Since the addition of Airbags, car manufacturers put together a dedicated safety measurement and improvements department where they continually research what further enhancements could be made to make their vehicles safer. Some prominent examples of such features we have been seeing since the 90s till now include the Antilock Braking System, which helps the car halt and slow down immediately when you press the brakes; Electronic Stability Control, which helps stabilize the vehicle; Traction Control which offers better grip and control on the road; and lastly, adaptive headlights which adjust depending on the external environment.
As of now, vehicles have several safety features. However, companies like Tesla are gradually transitioning toward autonomous vehicles with features like emergency brakes and more to minimize car accidents and make the roads safer for all motorists.
Since the creation of the very first vehicle, we have seen manufacturers persistently work on improving the safety of the motorists through adding seatbelts and airbags and features including lane assist, traction control, and more.
Vehicles back in the early days were not as safe, which is one reason why accidents resulted in casualties. With technological improvements, they are now much safer and protect motorists at all times.
We are looking forward to what the future has in store for us in terms of vehicle safety.