Volvo Trucks has been a leader in the field of passive safety, which is technology that helps protect those involved in a collision. This year, it is 50 years since Volvo introduced the three-point safety belt.
“We immediately gave free use of our patent to all manufacturers, and today the safety belt is a natural feature in virtually all trucks and cars. That is why we can say that there is a bit of Volvo in every vehicle on the road — irrespective of make and model,” said Volvo Trucks' traffic and product safety director Carl Johan Almqvist.
However, although the three-point belt has been around for half a century, its use is still worryingly low among truck drivers in some countries. On Swedish roads, only four out of 10 truck drivers use the belt, while France, owing to tough legislation, has boosted safety belt use to 80%.
Consequences of not using the belt are well-documented in Volvo Trucks' own accident research. Of 15 truck driver fatalities on Swedish roads over the past three years, for instance, only one was wearing a safety belt.
The world's first vehicle with three-point safety belt as standard — a Volvo PV544 — was delivered Aug 13, 1959, in Karlstad, Sweden.