Head Restraints Cut Injuries by 11%

3 December 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi Folks…

There are a number of things we take for
granted in new vehicles which, because of the modern world we live in, hardly
warrant a second thought. One such feature is Head Restraints.

Research from the US reveals that
vehicle seat/head restraint combinations reduce injury claim rates by 11.2
percent, compared to vehicles with poorly rated restraint combinations.

The study, released by IIHS (Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety) and the Highway Loss Data Institute, concluded
that top-rated restraint combinations markedly reduce the likelihood that
someone will sustain neck injuries if rear-ended by another vehicle.

The study also underscored the dramatic
improvement in such restraint quality in today’s vehicles. A decade ago, IIHS
said, more than half of the seat/head restraints the institute evaluated were
rated “poor” and just 9 percent drew a “good” score. In contrast, 95 percent of
2015 models earned a “good” rating and none were rated “poor.” IIHS credited
its own ratings program, combined with stricter federal requirements for higher
front-seat head restraints, for the overall improvement in such occupant

In the U.S., whiplash injuries are the
most frequently reported type of injury resulting from crashes.

For the recent study, researchers used
an insurance claim database of more than 600,000 rear-impact crashes to assess
the likelihood of an associated injury claim. Statistics were based on study
results on 2001-2014 model-year cars and SUVs using property damage liability
and personal injury protection claims.

“The injury-reduction benefits were
greatest for good-rated seats/head restraints,” IIHS reported. “Those with
acceptable or marginal ratings had injury rates that were 4.4 percent and 3.7
percent lower, respectively, than seats/head restraints rated poor.”

The safety benefit of higher-quality
restraints was even more pronounced among women, who saw lower injury rates
with “good,” “acceptable,” and “marginal”-rated seats compared with
“poor”-rated seats. For men, only “good”-rated seats were tied to statistically
lower injury rates.

Females are believed to be at a higher
risk for neck injuries because of several physical differences, the study

“Injury rates were 13 percent lower for
women and 9 percent lower for men in vehicles with good-rated seats/head
restraints,” IIHS said.

Given the fact that South Africa has an
aging vehicle population and that many persons are transported in Mini Bus
Taxi’s one can reasonably conclude that our statistics would be no better.
While we may not be able to do anything about the vehicle itself, we can work
on changing driver behaviour which contributes some 80% to the causes of

Question: Have you or your staff ever been
enrolled on a defensive driving course? If not, it should be considered an
investment - both financially and lifesaving.

Till next time - Drive Safe and ensure
that your head restraint is adjusted correctly so as to minimise possible
whiplash injury.

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