ROCKLEIGH, NJ -- Mats Ola Palm, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, Inc., wanted Volvo to be the first manufacturer to commit to equipping 100% of its 1995 models with this safety enhancing feature, so he laid down the gauntlet at New York's International Auto Show on March 31 of this year. It appears that the American public has developed a tremendous appetite for automotive safety. For manufacturers it has become a safety race.

"Safety has always been the driving force behind all Volvo automobile design," Palm stated. "The introduction of Daytime Running Lights is simply Volvo's way of expanding the boundaries of safety."

Volvo was the first car company to introduce Daytime Running Lights on the cars sold in their home market of Sweden back in 1975. A few years later, Daytime Running Lights were made mandatory by Swedish law. Today, many other European countries and Canada have passed laws requiring Daytime Running Lights. It was not until this past year that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration formulated a ruling which will permit Daytime Running Lights in the U.S. Prior to this, each state had its own laws on light operation during the day. With this ruling in place, Volvo moved quickly to equip all of its 1995 cars.

"We have seen in country after country that Daytime Running Lights do help enhance visibility and contribute to safety," Palm explained. "I believe it is just a matter of time before all cars are equipped with them. We wanted Volvo to be the first to have it on all of our cars."

The advantages of Daytime Running Lights are obvious in the dim and often glary light of dawn and dusk. While it is not as obvious, Daytime Running Lights also contribute to visibility in extremely bright environments like the desert. Across a wide variety of conditions, oncoming cars with Daytime Running Lights are visible at an average of three times the distance of cars without any lights on.

Volvo's history of safety innovation is a long one. Just last month the company announced it would be the first to equip many of its 1995 model year cars with a unique side impact protection system which uses an airbag mounted in the outer edge of each front seat to help reduce injuries in side crashes. In concluding his remarks, Palm noted that this year is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the three-point self-adjusting seat belt -arguably the single greatest safety device in the history of the automobile. He pointed out that this ubiquitous lifesaving device was developed and patented by a Volvo engineer and installed in Volvo cars as early as 1959! At Volvo, the job of enhancing car safety never takes a back seat.