First Tennessee Plaza, 800 S. Gay Street, Suite 1100, Knoxville, TN 37929

Automobile Safety Evolution by Design

The general state of motor vehicle safety has evolved tremendously over the last 50 years. In fact, as technology advances, designers and manufacturers across the world are finding new, innovative mechanisms of greatly improving the safety features on the typical vehicle. These improvements are essential, as auto accidents continue to be one of the leading causes of injuries in the United States.

When operating a 30 year old vehicle, the driver is 10 times more likely to be killed in a traffic crash. Over the last several decades, the rate of auto fatalities has decreased by 20 percent in the United States, highlighting the significant impact vehicle enhancement has on the overall safety of the population in the country and, more specifically, in the state of Tennessee.

Car safety evolution has come a long way since the first versions of automobiles were designed and constructed as early as the 1800s. However, taking a more modern perspective, we will concentrate on how a variety of safety features such as airbags, seat belts, and many other mechanisms have evolved and changes over the years. As continued research reveals new and innovative ways to design and regulate for safety, the auto industry has responded with new designs focused on reducing accidents, injuries, and fatalities due to vehicle malfunction.

Greg Coleman Law has seen a significant advancement in car safety evolution in many years of providing professional legal services to all Tennessee residents. While safety features have certainly improved, there are still thousands of motor vehicle collisions occurring each and every day. With our main office in Knoxville, our personal injury lawyers are prepared to take on your case today.

Complete a Free Case Review form on this page to learn more.

Car Safety Evolution

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was established through the passing of the Highway Safety Act of 1970. Since that time, the NHTSA has served to promote safety programs and oversee the general state of motor vehicle safety in the United States. The NHTSA tracks the auto accident rate daily, keeping a strict tally on the frequency of collision in order to implement measures to reduce crashes and increase safety.

Over the past 40 years, the auto industry, in conjunction with safety programs such as the NHTSA, has changed dramatically. A large portion of this change has to do with the vastly increased accountability measures which have trickled their way into every single car manufacturer and dealership. These car companies are held accountable and liable for the products made available to the public. This accountability has laid the foundation for the gradual reduction in auto accidents that the U.S. has seen in the last few decades.

While the car safety evolution has certainly made significant strides, traffic accidents continue to be the leading cause of death in the nation. Below we highlight some of the most impactful changes, developments, and additions throughout the car safety evolution.

  • 1958: Volvo releases safety belt, changes vehicle safety forever

  • 1960: To reduce injuries in head on collisions, padded dashboards are introduced to the market

  • 1966: Introduction of anti-lock brakes, helping drivers to brake efficiently and quickly

  • 1966: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) are established

  • 1968: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are established by the NHTSA, now mandatory requirements: collapsible steering wheel, side marker lights, front-seat occupants now wear shoulder belts

  • 1969: Head restraints become a requirement to reduce whiplash injury

  • 1974: Driver and passenger airbags introduced by GM

  • 1979: Crash-testing introduced by the NHTSA

  • 1984: New York is the first to pass a seat belt law, all 50 states would eventually follow, excluding New Hampshire

  • 1986: standardization of third center brake light

  • 1994: all vehicles are required to perform crash-testing

  • 2003: crash testing begins by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

  • 2004: SUVs are tested by the NHTSA for rollover prevention

  • 2009: Roof-crush standards are advanced, crush load requirement is increased by the NHTSA

Car Allowance Rebate System

The state of the auto industry in terms of the construction and manufacturing of vehicles has changed substantially since the 1950s. However, many of the vehicles produced years ago are still found traveling along the roads and highway today. Car safety evolution has greatly increased vehicle safety, and in an effort to get as many older vehicles off of the road as possible, the U.S. government has established the federal program called the Car Allowance Rebate System.

Motorists who own older vehicles are now encouraged to trade in their old cars for new, fuel-efficient vehicles. The Car Allowance Rebate System has created a great incentive for owners of older vehicles to make the trade and improve their chances of withstanding a motor vehicle collision.

Contact a Knoxville Auto Accident Lawyer Today

Greg Coleman Law has seen the kind of damage that motor vehicle accidents cause to both the passenger occupants involved and their loved ones. As the design of cars continues to improve, newer and more efficient safety measures will become readily available to the public. The combination of technology advancements and greater accountability for vehicle companies will play a significant role in the continued reduction in the number of traffic crashes each year.

Our Knoxville personal injury attorneys happily provide legal services to residents living all across the state of Tennessee. We believe that when the negligence of another driver causes injury or damage to you or your loved ones, the at-fault party must pay for the damages in which they inflict. If you or a loved one has suffered in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

Fill out a Free Case Review today to learn more about your potential legal options.

back to top