Seatbelts – A Brief History

May 4th, 2012
Seatbelt safety

Ever wonder where seat belts came from? Who was the person that is responsible for getting me this ticket? Well, that would be you. However, if you want to blame it’s inventor, then the earliest person attributed to have invented the seat belt was George Cayley.

While Cayley invented the seat belt in the early 19th century, the first patent for a ‘safety belt’ was awarded to Edward J. Claghorn. The first time they were installed in a passenger vehicle was in the late 1950’s.

Legislation was passed in 1968 that required all new vehicles to come equipped with seat belts. During that time, the National Safety Council launched a campaign titled, “Buckle Up For Safety”.

Even though vehicles were required by law to be manufactured with seat belts, there was no legislation stating that they be worn until 1984. New York was the first to pass a seat belt law. In the years following, more and more states began to follow New York’s lead.

There are two types of seatbelt enforcement, primary and secondary. A primary enforcement seatbelt law is one that gives an officer the ability to pull a driver over and ticket them for not wearing a seatbelt. Secondary, means that they can not pull you over for not wearing a seatbelt. However, if you are pulled over for a non-safety belt related violation, and are not wearing a seatbelt, under secondary seatbelt laws a driver may be cited for not wearing a seatbelt.

Today there are 32 states in America that have a primary seatbelt law, and 17 states with a secondary seatbelt law. Seatbelt laws vary from state to state. The majority of them have age restrictions and it also depends on if they are in the front or backseat. No matter what state you live in, regardless of the law, buckle up and stay safe.

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