By Al Vinikour
Through the decades new auto technologies were initially extra-cost options, and not always available on anything other than the top (and most expensive) trim levels. Case in point: seat belts. I don’t know what year they became available to order on a new car, but people were not quick to embrace it, nor did it seem the automakers were out to push it, either. However, as it became evident that seatbelts did in fact save lives, the push was on to have them mandatory on all new cars. At the time it wasn’t illegal to not use them, but at least they had to be factory installed. Over time, an array of equipment was made for the belts including retractors, whose intentions were to keep the belts neatly rolled up when not in use. Before that technology was invented, they were like the seat belts on an airplane — manually adjustable and always out in the open and in the way.