This year marks a half century since Volvo introduced the three-point safety belt — an invention the OEM says has saved more lives in traffic accidents than any other technical feature. The belt was invented by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin in 1959.

“We immediately gave free use of our patent to all manufacturers and today the safety belt is a natural feature in virtually all trucks and cars,” says Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic & product safety director for Sweden-based Volvo Trucks, parent firm of both Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks. “That is why we can say that there is a bit of Volvo in every vehicle on the road — regardless of make and model.”

However, the truck maker points out that while the three-point belt has been around for decades, its use is “still worryingly low among truck drivers in some countries.” On Swedish roads, only four out of ten truck drivers use the belt, while France, owing to tough legislation, has boosted safety belt use to 80%, says Volvo Trucks.