A Timeline of Passenger Safety


While researching another project recently I came across a scattering of occupant safety milestones, and decided to dig up some more. While by no means a comprehensive history the progression is interesting!

Date Milestone
1949 First crash test dummy created "Sierra Sam" to test ejector seats for the US Air Force
1955 Seat belts were optional on Fords
1959 Volvo makes lap/shoulder belts standard equipment in their cars
1962 First car seat invented by Leonard Rivkin of Denver Colorado
1962 First crash test dummy for automotive use
1968 First car seats developed on a large scale for child occupant protection
1970 World's first seat belt law for front seat occupants enacted in Australia
1971 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) adopted first federal standard for child seating systems FMVSS 213; requirements did not include crash testing.
1972 Volvo makes lap/shoulder belts in the rear standard equipment
1972 Consumer Reports car seat testing show most were grossly inadequate
1976 Ontario makes wearing a seat belt mandatory
1978 First law passed in North America (Tennessee) requiring infants and young children to be restrained in a seat that met FMVSS 213.
1981 Pre-tensioners introduced to seat belts by Mercedes
1987 Alberta makes wearing a seat belt mandatory
1989 (Canada) Pre-drilled holes or marked dimples required for tether anchor assembly for 1989 model year
1989 (US) Shoulder belts become standard in rear outboard seating positions in the US for 1990 model year
1995 Sept 1995 (model year 1996) seat belts are required to lock pre-crash in the US – Canada gets the feature as well on models available in both countries
1995 Driver's side air bags mandatory in the US
1999 Model year 2000 (Sept 1999) all passenger cars came equipped with factory installed user-ready tether anchorages
2000 Model year 2001 (Sept 2000) all vans/light trucks/SUVs came equipped with factory installed user-ready tether anchorages
2002 As of 1-Sep-2002 all child restraints must come with lower anchor connectors and all Canadian passenger vehicles must come with lower anchors in at least two seating positions
2005 (US) Dual-stage air bags required (some prior will also have them)
2008 (US) Lap/shoulder belt required in rear middle seating position
2011 GM introduces dynamic locking latch plates (DLLP) in the front seats of some vehicles
2011 Ford offers inflatable belts as an option in rear seating positions on some models
2015 Seat belts are required to lock pre-crash in Canada
20?? What advances are in our future? Will we look back in horror twenty years from now?