Before World War II, car safety was a lot different. The car companies didn't do many tests to see what happened during an accident. They just thought that car safety was the driver's responsibility. Over the last 40 years, the car manufacturers have come up with new tests that allow them to come up with changes in design that could improve car safety.
In 1946 every state started its own Highway Safety Agency. In 1962 the state of Wisconsin passed a law that all cars had to have seat belts. Twenty-two other states then passed similar laws.
In 1965 every car bought by the Federal Government had to have seat belts, padded sun visors and instrument panels, dual (two) brake systems, outside rear mirrors, flashers, and back up lights. The reason these things were added to cars was because so many deaths were happening over several years.
Seat belts really help a lot because they hold you in place when you are in an accident or come to a fast stop. It also keeps you from hitting the windshield.
In 1956 the car companies started putting locks on doors because a lot of people were getting thrown out of their cars during accidents and were dying. The locks kept the doors from coming open in an accident. In 1957 they put child guard locks on some cars so kids couldn’t open the doors. Child guard locks are door locks that can only be unlocked by a switch on the driver's side door. That way children couldn't be playing around with the handle and open the door by mistake.
In 1948, B.F. Goodrich made a tubeless tire that would stay cooler than the tube tires and would loose air slowly instead of having a blowout. Having a blowout could be very dangerous and make the driver loose control of the car and maybe cause an accident. Having a tire that would loose air slowly was much safer because the driver would see that the tire needed air, or to be fixed or replaced, and would have time to change it before it got too dangerous.
In 1970, the airbag was a new safety object. For many years, car companies tried to get airbags into cars, but they were too expensive and were hard to get in cars. By 1987 the car companies finally started using airbags in most cars. Airbags are very important to have in an accident, because they blow up and stop a person from going through the windshield. Airbags are very good, but you should never have a child under twelve in the front seat, because the force of the airbag going off could be very harmful and even kill them. Children under 12 should always sit in the back seat of a car.
In 1975 the speed limit was changed to 55 mph to save energy. The lower speed limit caused less accidents because people could control their cars better.
1977 was the first year that children had to be in car seats and wear seat belts. This kept children from moving around the car, and if the car stopped quickly or was in an accident the child would be strapped in the seat and not thrown around and maybe hurt. In 1984 New York became the first state to make it a law that the adults also had to wear seat belts.
In the near future, cars may have safety features like front and rear object detection systems that would beep if you get too close to something, and cruise controls that would keep a car a set distance behind another car.
I think we should all be proud of what the car companies and the government have done for us so we can be safe.