Seat Belt Type: 2-point seat belt, 3-point seat belt, 4-point seat belt
2-point seat belt–A restraint system with two attachment points. A lap belt.
3-point seat belt—Point Seat Belt: A seat belt with both a lap and a shoulder portion, having three attachment points (one shoulder, two hips).
Volvo had the first safety belts in 1849. The first U.S. patent for automobile seat beats was issued to Edward J. Claghorn of New York, New York on February 10, 1885. Claghorn was granted United States Patent #312,085 for a Safety-Belt for tourists, described in the patent as “designed to be applied to the person, and provided with hooks and other attachments for securing the person to a fixed object.”
Swedish inventor, Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seat belt – not the first but the modern seatbelt – now a standard safety device in most cars. Nils Bohlin’s lap-and-shoulder belt was introduced by Volvo in 1959.
4-point seat belt
Regardless of the cocoon of air bags surrounding the occupants of today’s vehicles, Dr. Priya Prasad, Ford Motor’s Technical Fellow for Safety maintains that “the single most important piece of safety technology in a car or truck today remains the safety belt,” and Ford engineers are actively researching new restraint technologies, like the four-point belt system shown above.
Ford research showed that consumers who tested the four-point belts perceived them to be safer, more comfortable and (depending on design) easier to use than conventional three point belts. Ford maintains that thousands of testers of “all demographics and sizes” gave the racecar-like harness the thumbs up, and we’re sure that the photo intentionally shows a female driver, but we’re skeptical that women will really find the new system “more comfortable.”
Still, we’re all for efforts to adopt simple, comparatively inexpensive, and effective technologies to enhance safety, and there’s no question that four-point belts are safer than today’s three-point system. Just ask any racecar driver.