Seat Belts Were:
  • Invented by George Cayley in the 1800s.
  • Introduced in aircraft in 1913 by Adolphe Pegoud who was the first man to fly a plane upside-down.

    Edward J. Claghorn was granted U.S. Patent 312,085 on February 10, 1885 for a safety belt providing protection for a person ascending or descending a ladder or pole.

    Edward J. Hock invented the safety belt first used by the Ford Motor Company as standard equipment. In 1955 his idea was accepted by the naval authorities.He was awarded $20.50 for his invention. He never received anything other than the $20.50, a letter of recognition and a newspaper article to his credit.


    1930's:Several U.S. physicians equip their own cars with lap seat belts.
    1954: Sports Car Club of America requires that competing drivers to wear lap seat belts.
    1955: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) appoints Motor Vehicle Seat Belt Committee
    1956: Ford and Chrysler offer lap seat belts in front as an option on some models.
    1958: Nils Bohlin, a design engineer with Volvo in Sweden, patents the "Basics of Proper Restraint Systems for Car Occupants," better known as a three-point safety belt.U.S. patent 3,043,625. Volvo provides anchors for 2-point diagonal belts in rear.
    1959: Volvo offers three point seat belts as a standard. New York considers and rejects a bill to require seat belts in new cars sold in the State.
    1961: SAE issues standard for U.S. seat belts. New York and Wisconsin require seat belt anchors at front outboard seat positions
    1962: U.S. manufacturers provide seat belt anchors in front outboard positions as standard.
    1963: Volvo introduces 3-point belt in front as standard in the USA.
    1963: Some U.S. manufacturers provide lap seat belts in front outboard positions.
    1964: About half the U.S. States require seat belt anchorages at front outboard.Most U.S. manufactures provide lap belts at front outboard seat positions.
    1965: U.S. Commerce Department issues first seat belt standard. All U.S. manufacturers providing lap belts in front outboard positions by this time.Some U.S. manufacturers provide automatic locking retractors (ALRs) in front seat belts.
    1966: U.S. Congress passes P.L. 89-593, establishing National Highway Safety Bureau,NHTSA.Sports Car Club of America requires competing drivers to wear a shoulder harness as well as a lap belt.
    1967: U.S. manufacturers provide lap seat belts at rear outboard positions.NHSB issues initial Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 208, 209 setting standards for lap and shoulder seat belts in front outboard positions and lap seat belts in all other positions.
    1971: NHTSA amends FMVSS 208 to require passive restraints in the front.
    1972: NHTSA requires anchorages for detachable shoulder straps for rear outboard (FMVSS 210)
    1974: NHTSA requires 3-point belt non-detachable shoulder straps in front outboard positions.U.S. cars provide "vehicle-sensitive" ELRs in front outboard shoulder belts. The lap belt portion has ALR.
    1985: New York makes belt use mandatory in front and rear (rear for persons 10 years or older).
    1986: General Motors started installing lap seat belts with shoulder harness straps for rear outer seats.
    1987: New York becomes the first state to require seat belts on large school buses.
    1996: Seat belts required on minibuses and coaches carrying groups of children on organized trips.
    2001: The state of California extends implementation of AB 15 that required lap/shoulder belts on all new school buses purchased after January 1, 2002. Retrofitting would not be permitted.

    The information provided is based on information believed to be accurate but accuraracy is not guaranteed.Sources:The National Transportation Safety Board,Traffic Research Institute,US Patent Office and The National Safety Council.

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    (SBL2 4-12-11)