17 Years Late.. ISOFIX Hailed As Latest Innovation

December 16, 2015


Road Safety


Richard Greenwood

On the 19th September the Federal Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson hailed an update to the Australian Standard that would permit the use of ISOFIX fittings in cars. The Minister's statement said that This is great news for road safety but let's put this in context. This statement refers to ISOFIX as a 'latest development'. The international standard was developed during the early 1990's and approved and released in the VW Golf in Europe in 1997, with Britax making the first seats. The ACCC and Australian regulators took 17 years to approve ISOFIX  in Australian cars.

The Year That Was 1997

Do you remember much about 1997? In case you don't, here are a few things that might trigger some memories.

  • Hanson went to number one with MMBOP
  • Pauline Hanson formed the One Nation Party
  • Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car crash in Paris
  • Titanic, The Full Monty and the first Men in Black Movie drew box office crowds.

ISOFIX was one of the latest developments of innovation in 1997. If all new developments and innovations had to go through this type of an approval process these are the technologies we would still be using:

DVD Players


DVD players were only just launching around the world in 1997. In fact, the format didn't make it to Australia until 1999.  Believe it or not you were still watching your VHS tapes back in 97'.  Not only that but TV's were still huge boxes, and digital TV transmission was four years away.

Nokia 5110


Forget Candy Crush, the phone that launched mobile gaming into the mainstream came loaded with 'Snake'. The phone was announced in December 1997 and released the next year.

  • GPS = No
  • Radio = No
  • MP3 = No
  • Headphone socket = No
  • Bluetooth = No

However, it could boast a 5-line mono display, rugged durability and up to 270 hour's standby time (try getting your smartphone to do that). It may have been simple, but these phones went on and on. My Dad was still using his until I bought him an Android in late 2009. Over ten years of trusty service is pretty impressive for a phone.

Internet Explorer 4 and Dial-Up Internet


In 1997, Microsoft introduced Internet Explorer 4 which was designed to run on the Windows 95 operating system. The odds are you wouldn't have had the internet at home back in 1997 as less than 15% of the Australian population had a home connection. If you were one of the early adopters, then your internet connection might have sounded a bit like this: nostalgic-dial-up-modem-sound

 Apple Powerbook G3



This Apple Powerbook G3 laptop was considered "cutting edge" technology in 1997. The design of this laptop is a far cry from the stylish and sleek Apple laptops we now know. The Powerbook G3 weighed in at 3.4kg and boasted 32 MB of memory and a 250 MHz processor. In comparison, the newest 2014 MacBook Pro model has a 2.6 GHz processor and an impressive 16 GB of memory. Not only that, it manages to store it all at only 1.57kg.

Nintendo 64


The Playstation 4 or even the Nintendo Wii were all a long way off in 1997. Nintendo launched the cartridge-based Nintendo 64 in March of 97' with only three games, one of which was iconic Super Mario 64. Compare that to the Playstation 4 that was released in mid-2014 that had over 60 games to choose from.

While it's great, the Australian standard board has finally approved ISOFIX for use; we have been using the Nintendo 64 equivalent of a child seat safety for 17 years too long.

We hope the next development in road safety reaches us a little quicker.

Richard Greenwood

Marketing Manager at Smith's Lawyers. Advocate for road safety and fan of technology that makes the roads or workplaces safer.


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