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Béla Barényi: The Man Behind Modern Car Safety

by Paul Strauss

Here in the U.S. and in Europe, we take for granted the significant advancements in automotive safety which protect us from injuries or worse when in a crash.  While many automakers will jump to take credit for safety innovations, Mercedes-Benz engineer Béla Barényi was definitely a major force behind some of the most important car safety systems we find in cars today.

In this short video from Mercedes, we learn a bit about Barényi’s significant accomplishments, including the ubiquitous “crumple zone” as well as the collapsing steering wheel. Mercedes was also one of the first car makers to fit vehicles with anti-lock brakes, side impact protection and air bags among other things.

It’s also interesting to note that Barényi is now credited with conceiving the original shape for the Volkswagen Beetle, five years before Ferdinand Porsche would complete the design.

Now if only they would apply similar safety standards and systems to vehicles in all parts of the world.

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