When safety regulations on vehicles were minimal to non existent, Volvo on its own, through its own research and development introduced safety features such as three point safety belts, padded dashboards, laminated windshields etc. They put these features in because they wanted to, they thought it would set them apart from other manufacturers.
Sure these added features did add to the price tag of the car, and it was up to the consumer to decide if these features were worth the extra cash. They had the choice, if protecting their family in a collision was a major concern of theirs then these features were valuable to them.
Up to this point, everything is the way it should have been. Consumers had options and voted with their dollars, and other manufacturers took notice and adjusted their vehicles safety features as the free market demanded.
I'm going to stop there with my example, because the next part has to do with the Government getting involved in vehicle safety and unnaturally forcing it on an industry and consumers.