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March 10, 2023

5 Car Safety Improvements Over The Years

5 Car Safety Improvements Over The Years Stewart's Automotive on Donnybrook

Many of you may remember when safety belt laws weren’t enforced. A time when there weren’t airbags. A time when cars and trucks weren’t built to the same safety standards.

Unfortunately, many of you probably also know someone who was injured or lost their life in a car accident.

The good news is that the statistics for vehicle fatalities and injuries have greatly decreased thanks to car safety improvements over the years. As a trusted mechanic in Tyler, Texas, for many years, car safety has been our top priority at Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. We’re glad to report that, thanks to regular maintenance on your vehicle, and safety innovations, cars, trucks, and SUVs are getting safer.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, they estimate that vehicle safety technology has saved over 600,000 lives in the years between 1960-2012.

The biggest advances in car safety have come about as a result of advances in technology—being able to look at data and research to make changes and increase safety features, which then influence laws and policies.

According to an article on car safety on the world economic forum website in 2021, the number of fatalities for every 100 million miles driven reduced from 5.2 in 1960 to 1.1 in 2019. These statistics clearly show that safety measures work.

Here’s a list of the top safety improvements over the years that have helped keep us all safer every time we get on the road:

  1. Seat Belts (Late 1800s)

The seat belt was a huge innovation in vehicle safety. Seat belts started to be used in the U.S. as early as the late 1800s. The modern three-point seat belt, which was invented in 1959, has been one of the most significant advances in keeping both drivers and passengers from injury or death in the case of an accident.

A few decades ago, a seat belt was only a two-point lap belt, or sometimes cars didn’t have them at all.

Seat belts weren’t required by law in the U.S. until 1973.

  1. Airbags (1950s)

When people think about car safety features, airbags are top of the list.

Airbags aren’t a new invention. They’ve been around since the 1950s, but they’ve come a long way in safety. As we know now, the idea was solid, but unfortunately, early versions were almost as dangerous as the crash itself.

Extensive study and research have helped make safe new versions with customizable options to meet your family’s safety needs.

Today, you can even customize your vehicle with side airbags. Not only that, but airbag technology continues to get better. Expect to see big advances in airbag safety technology in years to come.

  1. Backup Camera (2000s)

A recent innovation in vehicle safety is the backup camera. These are cameras located in the rear of the vehicle to see behind the car when in reverse. It didn’t become a car and truck safety requirement until 2018, so most older vehicles don’t come equipped with them.

Many terrible backup accidents occurred in the years before this safety feature. Backing into an object is rough on your vehicle and potentially the object, but backing into a child or pet is devastating. The hope with the backup camera is that they will help cut down on the number of such accidents.

Because they’re a recent innovation, long-range statistics on their efficacy are still pending. However, when used properly, they can go a long way in preventing an accident.

  1. Technological Advancements (Present Day)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics show that having seat belts and airbags will potentially lower the risk of a traffic fatality in the instance of a head-on collision by as much as 61 percent. If these two recently implemented safety measures can make such a difference in lowering the statistics for an injury or fatality, what could other safety features do? Technology continues to improve when it comes to keeping drivers and passengers safe on the road.

Self-driving vehicles are one of the latest technological safety innovations being worked on currently, although it still remains to be seen the ways such technology will keep drivers safe. The more this technology continues to develop, the greater this safety feature will be.

  1. Proper Maintenance (Timeless)

While keeping your car properly maintained isn’t a safety feature, it is one of the top ways you can help keep yourself and your passengers safe.

Ensuring your car is safe to drive goes beyond having airbags, backup cameras, and wearing your seat belt. It even goes beyond scheduling a regular oil change with your local garage.

It’s also important to perform your own routine checks of important parts of your vehicle like the air conditioner, oil filter, tires, brakes, belts, etc. Knowing your vehicle and paying attention to repairs that need to be made, and making sure you make them. In addition, it’s also a good idea to ask your trusted local auto repair shop about roadside assistance in the event you do have an accident.

Seat belts and other safety features are your first line of defense when it comes to keeping you and your passengers safe while driving, but don’t forget to make sure you have help lined up in case something does happen.

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