The original seatbelt was invented in 1885 as a way to keep people being raised or lowered off the ground safe. In 1911, Benjamin Fouilous attached one to his saddle while riding his horse. If you’re thinking “that seems like it might backfire”, you may be right, but innovation has to start somewhere. Things really picked up in the 1950s when Dr. Hunter Shelden helped create the retractable seatbelt. This technology was debuted in cars by the Swedish company Saab. I know, quite the Saab Story.
Seatbelts reached a peak in innovation with the invention of the 3 point seatbelt. It’s the seatbelt design that is in every modern vehicle. That’s because it has been proven to be the safest in study after study. Roger Griswold and Hugh DeHaven invented the 3 point seatbelt in 1955. Volvo helped perfect the design and put them in their 1959 fleet of vehicles (it’s the dang Swedes again).
The seatbelt has remained largely unchanged to this day. The only difference is the 3 point seatbelt is now used everywhere. It used to be that the middle seat would not have a 3 point seatbelt, however this has changed in modern cars. Similarly, buses have even started installing them for their passengers.