The Safety of Automobiles


Automobiles are machines that move people and goods. Depending on the vehicle, people can commute for work, play, or travel long distances. These machines use internal combustion engines, seat belts, and other safety measures. There are 4.8 trillion kilometers (3 trillion miles) of road driven each year. These vehicles are used by millions of people around the world, making them a vital part of our society.


Automobiles are motor vehicles with wheels and are primarily used for transportation. Most definitions include that they are road-legal vehicles that seat one to eight people and have four wheels. In addition to their primary purpose of transport, automobiles also include items such as trucks, buses, and motorcycles.

Internal combustion engines

A major development in the internal combustion engines of automobiles was patented by a British company. The British patent number 18,140 of 1909 was awarded to Argylls Limited in Dumbartonshire, Scotland. Its main feature was a redesigned valve arrangement that provided smoother running and considerable noise reduction. It is known as the Burt-McCollum sleeve valve.

Seat belts

Seat belts in automobiles can make a huge difference to the safety of vehicle occupants. They are an important part of vehicle safety because they hold the occupant securely in place during violent force. Fortunately, seat belts have improved considerably over the last two decades. The current system of seat belt buckles is governed by FMVSS and industry standards. However, American automakers have done little to improve their buckle designs, and the NHTSA has actively opposed changes to these standards. However, advanced technologies are poised to dramatically improve buckle safety.


Seats in automobiles are vital components of the safety and comfort of the occupants. They also help the driver maintain their balance and withstand the forces of gravity when cornering. Many seats in automobiles are also equipped with special openings for racing harnesses.

Seat sizes

Seat sizes in automobiles vary across different models. The width of the seats is determined by the hip room. The hip room is the space between the waist and the seat cushion. For example, a small car with a small hip room is not likely to be comfortable for a large person.


A recent book about the safety of automobiles has been a sensation in the United States, thanks to a front-page article in the New York Times. Entitled “The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile,” it condemns the automobile industry for putting “style over safety” and a “stagnant” engineering culture. The book turned the familiar fatality statistics into personal tragedies and increased the public’s awareness of the role of the “second collision.”

Vehicle laws

While vehicle laws are different in every state, there are some commonalities across the country. Federal and state laws govern highways and driver behavior, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration enforces vehicle safety standards. Violations of these laws are considered criminal offenses. LawServer is an excellent resource for learning about your state’s vehicle laws.