A Quick Timeline of Car Safety Through the Ages

As millions of vehicles continue to be sold each year, vehicles continue to improve in safety. From advanced safety equipment features to cutting-edge technology, car safety has changed immensely, and there are now more safety options than ever for drivers. The best part? More lives are saved because of this. 

Safety Updates in Vehicles

Here's a quick primer on just how safe vehicles have become over the last 100+ years.


It's hard to imagine, but there was a time when airbags were not standard in vehicles. While airbags were invented in 1987, they were considered a standard feature starting in 1999. For the last twenty-plus years, airbags have gone on to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Today's airbags are even more advanced, with special sensors that can detect the amount of force needed for deployment. 


Like airbags, there was a time when seatbelts were not included with a vehicle. Fortunately, manufacturers understand the priceless value proper seatbelts bring, and seatbelts are now included in all vehicles. Today's seatbelts are even more sophisticated, using a proper three-point system over the lap and shoulder. With over 90% seatbelt usage in the United States, this is another safety feature responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives over the years. 

Enhanced Technology

While equipment such as airbags and seatbelts have evolved over the years, completely new electronic technologies have come along to further enhance driver and passenger safety.

Electronic Stability Control

This system is designed to help you maintain control of your vehicle and possibly prevent rollovers and spin-outs. It provides control over your braking to help you keep in control of your vehicle. Although this feature is relatively new compared to others, it is now standard in vehicles manufactured after 2011. When this system was made standard, it was estimated it could potentially save almost 10,000 lives per year

Blind Spot Detection

When driving, one of the areas of most concern is not being able to see another driver who is close to you as you are changing lanes. Blind spot detection is designed to address this very issue and prevent unsafe merging. A blind spot detection system uses either sensors or cameras to warn the driver if there is another vehicle in the typical blind spot area. 

Backup Cameras

If you've ever seen an object or vehicle in your backup camera that you couldn't see in your rearview mirror, then you quickly realize how valuable backup camera technology has become for driving. Backup cameras have also evolved through the years, providing greater visibility for items located or crossing behind us. Backup cameras became a standard feature in 2018 and have likely saved drivers from countless incidents involving accidental collisions with trash cans — or worse yet — people walking behind the vehicle.

Driver Assistance

As technology advances us closer to self-driving cars, other systems are in place now to provide aid to drivers and take over some of the tasks typically involved in driving. Driver Assistance refers to the entire system in place and might include a combination of forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Global positioning systems (GPS) are another technology under the Driver Assistance umbrella and have become standard in most vehicles now too.

Stay Safe on the Road With Help From Aceable

Car safety has changed over the years and progressed to include exciting innovations we know will continue to save lives.  It's exciting to envision what the future holds for drivers as more safety features are added.

Better car safety is one way to improve driving conditions across the highways. Another way is to enroll in an Aceable defensive driving course. Learn more about Aceable's catalog of defensive driving options

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