This paper broadly surveys the continuing research and development by automotive engineers in designing safer automobiles. Door latch redesign, seat belts, energy absorbing steering columns, laminated windshields, energy absorbing instrument panel and its knobs and levers, dual brake systems, seat back impact absorbing tops, head restraints, and bias-ply tires are among the improvements discussed. Passenger restraint remains the most important factor in saving lives, however, and the public has been careless in using such systems. Passive restraints, such as the air bag, are under development.
The need for good driver training programs, the problem of alcohol, and the need for continuing improved highway design are also touched upon.