How Volvo Became an Industry Safety Leader: A Look Back in Time for Students in Car Mechanic Training
October 11, 2017
There’s a reason why many—if not most—automakers proudly proclaim the successes of their vehicles on mandatory safety tests: people like the idea of driving something that will protect them if something goes wrong on the road.
For its entire history, Volvo has put this demand for safety at the heart of its lineup, and to this day it has paid off. The company consistently finds itself at the forefront of safety innovation, and has established a sterling reputation for being the brand for safety-conscious buyers.
Curious about how this came to be? Here’s a look back in time at Volvo’s history as a safety pioneer.
Automotive Maintenance Technicians Can Look to the 1940s for the Birth of Volvo’s Focus on Safety
Established in 1927, the Volvo brand’s obsession with safety only really got rolling in the 1940s, but when it did, it never stopped. And for a while, it was far ahead of the competition.
In 1944, the company added laminated glass into its automotive mix, helping protect drivers from explosive shards of glass flying at them during an accident. It was a huge innovation, only really bested in 1959, when the company introduced perhaps the most important automotive safety device ever created: the three-point seat belt. It’s an invention that we not only use to this day, but which is required to be used by law virtually anywhere cars are driven.
Other brands started investing in safety as well, looking to catch up with the effective and desirable technology Volvo was using, but Volvo consistently managed to stay ahead of the pack.
Other Volvo Innovations Have Since Become Standard, Too
As the decades passed, Volvo kept up its mission of delivering safer vehicles, and introduced a number of features and systems that the average automotive maintenance technician will work with in their career. In the 1960s, Volvo introduced crumple zones to its vehicles, well before much of the competition. In the 1970s, it adopted impact-absorbing steering columns. By the 1990s, side air bags and whiplash protection functionality were also introduced to the brand’s models. All make immense differences to vehicle occupants in helping protect them from impacts and associated harms.
As with some of Volvo’s earlier safety innovations, many of Volvo’s later features were copied and adopted by competing automobiles, but being first comes with its perks. Even entering a career as a mechanic today, you’re almost definitely going to encounter clients who regard Volvo as the standard-bearer for automotive safety.
What’s Next for Volvo? It Might Eliminate Traffic Fatalities Shortly After Your Car Mechanic Training
Since 2008, Volvo’s been on one of the most ambitious missions imaginable for an automaker: to achieve zero driver deaths in its new vehicles by 2020. Given that about 1.3 million people die annually from traffic accidents around the world, it’s a pretty tall order. With only a couple of years to go until 2020, the deadline is looming to see if the company can pull off its mission.
Still, there are a few reasons why you might see Volvo pull it off just a couple of years after your car mechanic training. The company is working hard to develop intelligent warning systems for its vehicles, as well as steering assistance and autobrake functionality. Unrelated to the safety capabilities of its new cars, the fact that Volvo only holds about 0.4 per cent of global auto sales for 2017 is also helpful. The fewer Volvo cars there are on the road, the lower the odds that one will be involved in a fatal accident.
Regardless of whether Volvo achieves its ambitious mission, it’s likely that its efforts to do so will help propel the company’s cars to even greater levels of safety.
Do you want to learn more about the important systems and features found in cars?
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