A timeline of key milestones in the history of vehicle safety.
1958 - Seat Belt
Volvo introduces the seat belt. It remains the most beneficial car safety device of all time.
1960 - Padded Dashboard
Volvo introduces a padded dashboard, in an attempt to reduce facial/chest injuries from frontal collisions.
1966 - Anti-lock Brakes (ABS)
First mechanical anti-lock brakes based on aircraft technology, introduced on the Jensen FF, a hand-built luxury sports car.
1967 - Seat Belts
All cars sold in the UK must be fitted with front seat belts.
1968 - Heat Restraints
Volvo offers front-seat head restraints, aimed at protecting the head and neck in rear-end crashes.
1978 - Electronic ABS
Mercedes-Benz S-class is the first production car with electronic ABS.
1981 - Drivers Airbag
Mercedes-Benz S-class is the first production car with a driver's airbag.
1983 - Seat Belts
Becomes compulsory to wear front seat belts in the UK.
1986 - Third Brake Light
High-level third brake light is introduced by Volvo.
1987 - Rear Seat Belts
New cars sold in the UK must be fitted with rear seat belts.
1989 - Rear Seat Belts
Rear seat belts, if fitted, must be worn by children under 14 years in
all cars driven in the UK.
1991 - Seat Belts
Seat belts, if fitted, must be worn by all rear seat passengers including
1994 - Crash Tests
Pioneering crash tests carried out by European consumer organizations.
Test method later adopted by Euro NCAP.
1996 - Euro NCAP Established
Euro NCAP established. Super minis are first to be tested, with the Rover 100 scoring just one star. It is withdrawn from sale 22 months later.
2001 - First 5 Star Rating Awarded
First car to be awarded a five-star Euro NCAP rating for occupant protection to the Renault Laguna II.