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Car Safety Design Evolution

July 31, 2014

The global state of the auto industry has come a long way since the early 15th’s designs and models provided by Leonardo da Vinci. From steam to electric to gasoline, car safety design evolution has played a significant role in the declining number of what was once a massive onset of motor vehicle collision injuries and damages. There are a number of factors that reduce a car’s safety as the age of the vehicle increases. Beyond the actual functionality wear and tear to the critical part of the car and the vehicle itself, enormous improvements in automobile safety have paved the way for new global standards.

According to recent studies regarding car safety evolution, a motorist is up to 10 times more likely to suffer from a fatal motor vehicle crash when they are operating a 30 year old vehicle. As the auto industry continually works toward manufacturing the safest equipment possible, they have conducted countless studies to determine the extent to which particular adjustments to vehicles creates a safer, more protective vehicle structure.

While there is certainly a long way to go to create the “ultimate safe vehicle”, the United States has made significant strides to improve the overall security of manufactured cars. Over the last 30 years, traffic fatalities in the U.S. have decreased by more than 20 percent, indicating substantial progress in terms of car safety evolution. It was not until the early 1950s that the industry at-large began to recognize the dire need to revolutionize the design of vehicles in increase safety.

About 40 years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was created through the Highway Safety Act of 1970. As it still exists presently, the organization’s role is to promote and effectively carry out driving safety programs throughout the United States. From new policies and standards to strict regulations on both a state and federal level, the U.S. has been a true catalyst of car safety evolution.

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Timeline of Car Safety Design Evolution

While the evolution of car manufacturing has certainly come a long way since the 1950s, auto accidents continue to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and across the world. The industry, as a whole, requires extensive reform before achieving an optimal level of auto safety. Regardless, highlighting the evolution of car safety design is an excellent way to shed light on just how far the industry has come.

As you will see below, a variety of adjustments, modifications, tweaks, and renovations took place in improving the modern vehicle. Beginning in the 1950s and extending to today, all motorists should appreciate the massive strides that have been made by all of the major automobile manufacturers both at home and abroad. Combining safety features from a number of different auto companies will eventually create a vehicle that is safe enough to greatly reduce the number of traffic crash injuries and fatalities in the future.

  • 1958: the introduction of Volvo’s new seat belt forever changes the safety of all vehicles
  • 1960: To reduce head injuries in collisions, the padded dashboard is invented
  • 1966: Anti-lock brakes are implemented, making faster and more efficient braking possible, even in adverse road conditions
  • 1966: the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Department of Transportation are founded
  • 1968: the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are established by the NHTSA, the following conditions were made mandatory: collapsible steering columns, side marker lights, and shoulder belts for front-seat passenger occupants
  • 1969: Head restraints become a requirement on all vehicles, greatly reducing the prevalence of whiplash
  • 1974: Driver and passenger airbags are introduced by GM (much debate existed at the time, as many believed these airbags were more harmful than protective)
  • 1979: Crash-testing is introduced to the industry by NHTSA
  • 1984: First seat belt law is passed in New York (all 50 states would eventually pass this law, not including New Hampshire)
  • 1986: standardization of the third center brake light in all vehicles
  • 1994: crash tests are made mandatory
  • 2003: crash testing begins for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
  • 2004: SUV testing to prevent rollover collisions by the NHTSA
  • 2009: Roof-crush standards improved as the crush load requirement was increased

The car safety evolution has clearly highlighted the impact of the advancements in vehicle design and technology. As improvements are continually made throughout our history and even today, the state of auto safety increases, while the hazards associated with them decreases. As an Alabama resident, you must pay careful attention to the current condition of your vehicle. As time goes by, the safety equipment wears and become far less functional than it had been at the time of purchase.

In order to reflect the massive changes in vehicle structure and design when compared to 30 year old vehicle, the U.S. government created the Car Allowance Rebate System. This federal program allows an incentive for American drivers to trade in their old vehicle for newer, fuel-efficient cars. With any hope, the continuance of this program will help to remove all of the dangerous vehicles currently traveling along the roads and highways of Mobile and Baldwin County.


Citrin Safety Foundation

The Citrin Safety Foundation is a non-profit organization which was founded by Andy Citrin. As more and more traffic collisions occur in the state of Alabama, Citrin Law Firm decided to take an active role in reducing the number of injuries and fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes. With a focus on distracted driving, the newest, most dangerous cause of auto accidents, the Citrin Safety Foundation hopes that all Alabama drivers, especially young motorists, will take a head-on approach to increasing safety and reducing the number of crashes.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in Mobile or Baldwin County, an Alabama car accident attorney from Citrin Law Firm is here for you. With years of experience and a dedication to research and investigation, our personal injury law firm has achieved millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients.

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