“Clunk, Click, Every Trip”…seat belts top motoring safety poll

The seat belt has been named the most important innovation in car safety of the past fifty years in a new poll from Avon Tyres. The much maligned speed camera was voted the tenth.

The modern three-point belt was first seen in Volvos in 1959*, but only became compulsory for front seat passengers in 1983. Since then, over 50,000 lives have been saved, with a further 600,000 serious casualties and 1.5m minor casualties avoided**.

One of the first acronyms to appear on our cars, ABS, or Anti-lock Brake System, came second in the Avon Tyres survey to find the safety innovations that have had the most impact. Airbags, Cats Eyes and Crumple Zones rounded off the top five.

Despite widespread criticism, the explosion of speed cameras - now estimated at over 6,000 - were deemed the most important innovation by 2 percent of motorists.

Top Ten Safety Innovations

Pos. InnovationPolled vote
1Seat Belts27%
2ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System)21%
4Cats Eyes10%
5Crumple Zones7%
63-point centre seatbelt (rear)6%
7Traction control3%
8Side Impact Protection2%
9EBS (Emergency Braking System)2%
10Speed Cameras2%

Source: Avon Tyres

Malcolm Jones of Avon Tyres commented: “The average car may be significantly faster since seatbelts became compulsory, but manufacturers are forever pushing the boundaries to deliver safer cars. In ten years time, we’ll all be talking about pop-up bonnets, artificial intelligent braking systems and cars that can see around corners.”

The introduction of the Euro NCAP star ratings system in 1997 has only sought to focus the attention of manufacturers and public alike to improving vehicle safety.

Today, more than 50% of models have the maximum 5 Stars for occupant protection, with Citroen’s innovative new C6 recently becoming the first car in the world to achieve a maximum 4 Stars for pedestrian safety.

Avon Tyres surveyed more than 1,100 motorists.

* Swede, Nils Bholin, invented the seatbelt for Volvo.
** http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/campaigns/seatbelts/030131.htm


Posted on 12th April, 2006

For further details about this or any other matter concerning Cooper Tire and Rubber Company Europe Ltd, contact Marketing Communications Manager, Sarah McRoberts, on 01225 357275, or at smmcroberts@coopertire.com.