The origins of car seat belts. As a basic protective device to protect the driver and rider during the collision, the safety belt was born earlier than the automobile. As early as 1885, seat belts appeared and were used in horse-drawn carriages to prevent passengers from falling off them. On May 20, 1902, at an automobile race in New York, a race car driver used belts to fasten himself and his companions to the seats to prevent him from being thrown out at high speed. Two people were killed and dozens injured when their car crashed into a crowd during a race, but the drivers escaped with their belts. These belts became prototypes for car seat belts, which, when first used in cars, saved the lives of their users.