“Say bye bye to Volvo. Now German brands have the upper hand.” This was an actual comment from our post on Volvo’s decision to implement a 180 km/h safety net on all of its new cars from 2020 onwards. This was not an isolated comment either, with most of the discussions online trending towards ridicule and criticisms.
Little did we know, the overarching response to the introduction of the three-point seatbelt in 1959 were of similar nature too. The New York Times even called the invention “a violation of humans rights”, with many others echoing the comment.
Invented by a Volvo Engineer Nils Bohlin, the Swedish carmaker immediately made the patent of the three-point safety belt available to all car manufacturers. Despite various experiments and data supporting its efficacy, Bohlin’s invention was still largely rejected by the industry and public, and only in 1979 did we see it being adopted in Malaysia through the seatbelt legislation of 1979.
But look where the seatbelt is today, included in virtually every road-going car, and estimated to have saved more than a million lives. Committed to do more, Volvo has launched the “A Million More” campaign, with the aim to save a million more lives through various automotive safety devices – starting with the 180 km/h speed limit – despite public outcry.
The campaign kicks off with an emotional video of car crash survivors reading aloud the derogatory comments made about the three-point seatbelts, then recounting their own experiences in the accidents – and how they probably would’ve lost their lives it it weren’t for the “terrible idea”.
Since the announcement of the speed limit back in March this year, the company has already opened up conversations – even within the industry – about whether car makers have the right or even an obligation to install these technologies. Despite controversies, Volvo believes that it only takes one to make a stance to change how we all think about vehicle safety.
Following the speed limit, Volvo will also be introducing an in-car camera system to help prevent accidents caused by intoxicated or distracted driving. Here’s to safer roads to in the future.