Safety First

Volvo, Uber proclaim today as first National Seat Belt Day

Volvo invented the three-point safety harness in 1959, 60 years ago.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Do you always buckle up when you're in a car? What about in a taxi or Uber? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, four out of five adults say they don't always use a seat belt when taking short trips or when in the backseat of a taxi or ride-share vehicle.

Volvo Car USA, Uber, and the Governors Highway Safety Association have joined together to proclaim November 14 as National Seatbelt Day, in an effort to bring awareness to the benefits that seats belts provide.

"The safety belt is still among the most important safety features in the car today," said, Jim Nichols, Product and Technology Communications Manager, Volvo Car USA. "We are proud that the three-point safety belt has endured over the years and is now featured in every vehicle sold."

60th Anniversary of the Seat Belt adVolvo, Uber, and GHSA are using this ad to help make riders aware of the benefits of using a safety belt.Image courtesy of Volvo Car USA

The three-point safety belt was launched by Volvo in 1959 and celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Volvo estimates that the belt has saved a million lives since it debuted but notes that, " its effectiveness is only as good as its use."

In 2018 the rate of seat belt use in the U.S. was 89.6%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47% were not wearing seat belts. NHTSA research indicates thatbuckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.

It's important to remember that air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. Safety belts and air bags, as well as modern safety and driver assistance technologies and strong frame materials, are all part of a modern safety system that works together to keep vehicle occupants safe.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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Volvo will install 60 ChargePoint chargers at Starbucks locations in the west and Northwest.

Volvo

Volvo plans to be an electric-only automaker by 2030, and along the way to that goal, the automaker is investing in services and infrastructure to support its vehicles. Today, Volvo announced a partnership with coffee giant Starbucks that will provide dozens of chargers at coffee shops in the west and northwest U.S.

As part of the deal, Volvo will install up to 60 company-branded chargers at up to 15 Starbucks stores on the route between Denver and Seattle. Volvo says it aims to install charging locations every 100 miles along the 1,350-mile route between the Mile-High City and Starbucks hometown of Seattle.

Volvo-Starbucks PartnershipVolvo's goal is to install a charger every 100 miles. Volvo

Though they'll have Volvo's name on the front, the chargers are from ChargePoint, and drivers will use a built-in ChargePoint app to access services. The function is available in the vehicle's infotainment system, and will help locate and use the chargers. Volvo says all EV drivers will be able to access the chargers for a fee, but notes that its owners will get free or discounted charging.

A Volvo-Starbucks partnership isn't as crazy as it sounds at first. Beyond the fact that there's likely quite a bit of overlap in both brands' customers, the move furthers Starbucks' sustainability goals and provides Volvo owners with a free or low-cost charging solution. The project should be done by the end of this year, so keep your eyes open if you're getting coffee in a Volvo EV in the area.

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