Wake Up To Whiplash!

Car manufacturers have finally woken up to the dangers of whiplash injuries – but the British public aren’t yet using their heads to save their necks – a report from Thatcham the insurance research centre will reveal.

More than 125,000 drivers and passengers in the UK could be being injured in accidents annually purely because they have not adjusted their head restraint properly.

New figures show that the majority of car seats now offer passengers protection in the event of a rear end impact – with 80 per cent of new European vehicles rated as good or acceptable.

Crash test dummy testing shows a dramatic improvement in the quality of protection offered by many manufacturers following years of pressure from the engineers and analysts at Thatcham.

But there is growing evidence that motorists and their passengers fail to use the equipment properly.

A survey carried out by Thatcham shows that more than 63 per cent, of drivers have their head restraint set in the wrong position – making them vulnerable to injury.

A staggering 250,000 of UK motorists receive whiplash injuries each year – with 25,000 suffering some form of permanent disability.

“The manufacturers are doing their bit – now the public have got to wake up to whiplash.” Said Matthew Avery, Crash Lab Manager, Thatcham.

“The head restraint should be seen as every bit as important as the seat belt – yet people seem oblivious as to how to use it properly.”

The top of the head restraint should be level with or above the top of the head – and as close to the back of the head as possible.
The Thatcham survey of 1,400 drivers and their vehicles showed that only 25 per cent of men and 43 per cent of women had their head restraint in the correct position.

“These figures are shocking,” said Matthew. “if people are made aware of the risks they are running they would take a few seconds to adjust their restraint whenever they get in to a vehicle.

“More than 125,000 whiplash injuries could be prevented in this country each year if people took a little time out to save their necks.”

The head restraint test results to be published today show:

29% GOOD
20% POOR

The results compare very favourably with the 2005 test results:

16% GOOD
36% POOR

Several significant New, UK produced cars are now getting GOOD scores where the previous models were rated as POOR. (Honda CR-V and Civic, Nissan QASHQAI).

Several manufactures have strategically changed their seat designs to improve protection across the board where previously they were poor. (Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Ford).

21 March 2007 Staff

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