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Safety – a Never Ending Volvo Commitment 


1 March, 2005



A tagline in a Volvo ad from the past stated, "every year is a road safety year at Volvo".


And the safety history of Volvo Car Corporation proves that this is true. The track record includes some 75 ground-breaking safety innovations since the company was founded in 1927.


The Volvo Car Corporation has had a human-based philosophy already from the start.


The founders of Volvo, Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson, stated:  "Cars are driven by people – the guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain – safety."



Safety cage and laminated windscreen


The safety cage and the laminated windscreen, both introduced in the Volvo PV 444 in the 1940’s were among the first important safety features in Volvo cars.


The most prominent of all the innovations is of course the three-point safety belt in 1959, considered to be one of the most life-saving technical innovations in the history of mankind.


The first rearward-facing child safety seat prototype was developed and tested back in 1964 (introduced 1972) and the Side Impact Protection System from 1991 are a couple of other classic examples.



Own Road Accident Research Team


In 1970, Volvo Cars established its own Road Traffic Accident Research Team to study and learn from accidents involving Volvo cars. The team has injected vital knowledge into Volvo’s research and development during its 35 years of operation.


In recent years, the development of new safety features has continued, including world firsts in the Volvo S80, Volvo XC90, the all-new Volvo S40 and Volvo V50.



Safety innovations year by year


Here is a complete list of all important safety features introduced during the history of Volvo Cars:




1944 Safety cage


1944 Laminated windscreen




1954 Defroster vents for windscreen


1956 Windscreen washers


1957 Anchor points for 2-point safety belts front


1958 Anchor points for 2-point safety belts rear


1959 3-point front safety belts standard




1960 Padded instrument panel


1964 Disc brakes front


1964 First rearward-facing child safety seat prototype tested


1966 Rear windscreen defroster


1966 Disc brakes all around


1966 Dual split triangular braking system


1966 Crumple zones front and rear


1966 Safety door-locks


1967 Safety belt rear seats


1968 Head restraints front


1969 Interia reel safety belts


1969 Heated rear windscreen




1971 Reminder safety belt


1972 3-point safety belts – rear


1972 Rearward-facing child safety seat


1972 Childproof locks on rear doors


1972 Warning lights (hazard)


1973 Side collision protection


1973 Collapsible steering wheel


1974 Energy absorbing bumpers


1974 Safe location of fuel tank


1974 Multistage impact absorbing steering column


1974 Bulb integrity sensor


1974 Headlight wiper/washer


1975 Day running lamps


1975 Braking system with stepped bore master cylinder


1978 Child safety booster cushion




1982 "Anti-submarining" protection


1982 Fog lamps front


1982 Fog lamps rear                       [See the DSA page on the reprehensible lack of rear fog lights on cars in the USA]


1982 Warning lights in opened door


1982 Wide angle rear view mirror     [See the DSA page on blind spots and the safest way to set exterior mirrors, here]


1984 ABS anti-locking brakes


1985 ETC – Electronic Traction Control


1986 Brake lights in rear window


1986 Three-point safety belt centre rear seat


1987 Mechanical safety belt pre-tensioner


1987 Airbag – driver




1990 Integrated child safety cushion in centre rear seat


1991 SIPS – Side Impact Protection System


1991 Automatic height adjusting safety belt


1992 Reinforced rear seats in estate models


1992 Passenger airbag front


1993 Three-point inertia-reel safety belts - all rear positions


1994 SIPS-bag, side airbag


1995 DSA – Dynamic Stability Assistance


1995 Integrated child safety cushion outer rear seats


1997 ROPS – Roll Over Protection System (C70)


1998 WHIPS – Whiplash Protection System                              [See DSA page on the Volvo WHIPS system, here]          


1998 IC – Inflatable Curtain


1998 STC – Stability and Traction Control


1998 DSTC – Dynamic Stability and Traction Control


1998 EBD – Electronic Brake Distribution




2000 ISOFIX anchorages with rearward-facing child safety seat


2000 Dual Stage Airbag


2001 SCC – Volvo Safety Concept Car                       [See the Drive and Stay Alive editor's review of the SCC, here]          


2002 RSC – Roll Stability Control


2002 ROPS – Roll Over Protection System (XC90)


2002 New integrated child seat 2nd row (XC90)


2002 Lower Cross Member (XC90)


2002 New compatible front design (XC90)


2002 Safe 3rd row seats (XC90)


2002 New Front Structure (XC90)


2003 New Front Structure (S40, V50)            [See the DSA editor's pre-sales, test drive review of the Volvo S40 T5, here]


2003 IDIS – Intelligent Driver Information System


2004 BLIS – Blind Spot Information System  [See the DSA page on blind spots and the safest way to set exterior mirrors]


2004 Water repellent glass


Source: Volvo Car Corporation 



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     DSA article on the Volvo Safety Centre

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