“It violates individual human rights.”
“It’s better to be thrown out than to be trapped inside.”
“Wearing a seat belt is a terrible idea.”
These are some of the nice things that were said about the V-type three-point seat belt, which was first introduced by Volvo in 1959. Developed by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin, the safety device – which has saved more than a million lives since its inception – didn’t have an easy journey to where it is today.
Viewed as ineffective, inconvenient and uncomfortable, the three-point seat belt was largely rejected by the industry and public for many years, despite many experiments and data supporting its efficacy, and it wasn’t until more than a decade later that the first mandatory use of it as defined by the law came about.
Despite increased legislation, resistance to its adoption continued. Even today, despite it being a legal requirement, you still have folk who chose not to use the life-saving invention because “it is restrictive” or “will crease my clothes.”
The derogatory terms and opinions help open A Million More, a video highlighting the increase in car safety brought about by the use of the seat belt, read by car accident survivors whose lives were saved by the device.
It’s part of a larger narrative to get the industry and the public thinking and talking about how they should view new concepts with regards to vehicle safety. In this case, it’s about the automaker’s take on the dangers of speeding and its decision to cap the speed limit of its new cars to 180 km/h, a move it announced in March this year.
The automaker first mooted the plan in March 2019, after stating its belief that speeding is one of, if not the most prominent cause of serious injuries and fatalities in road accidents.
The move has caused a stir, for sure. Some industry observers have already questioned the rights of automakers to impose such limitations, but Volvo believes that the move can save lives, even if it is controversial. Through the A Million More campaign, the company is hoping to convince people that it is a steer in the right direction, just like the three-point seat belt has been.
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