When Nils Bohlin started his job at Volvo’s safety department, his task was to make the cars safer. He succeeded.
When Nils Bohlin started his job at Volvo’s safety department, his task was to make the cars safer. He succeeded. According to Volvo’s calculations, hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved thanks to the three-point seat belt, an invention by Nils Bohlin.
Unusual seat belt
When Nils Bohlin was employed by Volvo at the end of the 1950s, there were not many car manufacturers that installed seat belts in their cars. The seat belts that existed, so called two-point seat belts, were neither particularly safe, nor comfortable. They were either drawn diagonally over the body, or straight over the hips. Nils Bohlin’s task was to create a better alternative.
The Swedish Intellectual Property Office was unsure
The seat belt that Nils Bohlin created had three points and it started to be used in Volvo’s cars in 1959. The first models where the seat belt was installed as standard in the front seat were the Volvo Amazon and the PV544. But it was not certain that Nils Bohlin would get a patent for his invention. Another type of three-point seat belt already existed which resulted in the Swedish Intellectual Property Office being unsure about whether the invention was unique.
Nils Bohlin’s seat belt was much safer than the older ones because the upper part of the body was also restrained. In 1985, his three-point seat belt was awarded a prize by the West German patent authority for being one of eight inventions that had been most beneficial to the general public. According to Volvo’s calculations, the three-point seat belt has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.