Evolution of car safety over the years

Vaibhav Rai

January 06, 2019 04:15 PM

Ever since the first appearance of cars on the roads, safety standards have come a long way down to improvement. From the first genre of vehicles to the contemporary self-driving cars, transformation has been fascinating and unbelievable. Let’s journey back in time and have a look at some of the major milestones achieved against the vehicle safety standards and future expectations.

A slow beginning

The time between the early 1900s and 1950s is considered the first decade of motor-based road travel with least improvement safety standards. This was a time when heavier and extremely complex cars were the staple with difficult control and manoeuvring mechanism, eventually increasing the average number of road accidents.

Let’s not forget some of the developments that actually happen. Take for instance the patenting of hand-operated wiper blades in 1903 that were designed to improve the visibility. Almost eight years later, racing cars were the first to deploy rear view mirrors. In 1914, turning indicators were invented by actress Florence Lawrence where headrests landed in 1921 which reduced the risk of whiplash injuries. Development of hydraulic brakes in car also took place in the same year.

Some other developments that happened between 1927 and 1947 were the creation of laminated glass for windshields, padded dashboards which lowered the collision/impact based injuries and successful trial of the first car crash against safety standards.

The most effective safety devices ever

Car safety standards truly begin to advance from 1950s onwards. The creation of airbag and the concept of crumple zone came in the 1951 that’s designed to absorb the collision force. One of the most significant developments in car safety came in 1958 with introduction of a three-point seatbelt by Volvo. To date, it has been recognised as world’s most effective vehicle safety features.


Modified laws

From 1960s onwards, safety rules started to ascend with greater improvements to the car and significant reduction in accidents. Inertia-reel seatbelt came in 1963 as well as the intermittent wipers in the same year. By 1966, all of the vehicles that were manufactured in the Europe had to be fitted with padded dashboards, reverse lights, front and rear lap belts as well as a front seat belt; all became compulsory.

Technological improvements

Safety standards further advanced throughout the 1990s whereas establishment of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) also took place. New cars were befitted with latest electronic systems for safety enhancement. Introduction of electronic stability control by the Bosch and Mercedes-Benz as well as incorporations of the Brake Assist Systems in vehicles also improved road and vehicle safety.

The notable developments of the 2000

2000 – Development of the Lane Departure Warning System to be installed in the trucks took place. The system triggers visual and audio warning to the driver on moving beyond their designated lane.

 2004 – Introduction of the blind spot information system through which motorists can avoid collisions by using the motion sensors and cameras to avoid collision.

2008 – Development of the autonomous emergency braking system where sensors can detect oncoming vehicles and avoid collision.


While you’re visiting a car mechanic in Dubai for complete vehicle service, be sure to ask all the safety essentials