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What Is The Most Important Car Safety Feature When It Comes To Reducing The Chances Of Whiplash?

Jan 24, 2008
What does "whiplash" mean?

The term "whiplash" is usually used to describe only rear end collisions, often where a car is stationery and another car drives into the rear of it.

Thatcham, the insurance research centre, has released a report showing that, in a survey of 1,400 drivers, only 25% of men and 43% of women have the head restraints in their cars in the correct position, increasing the potential for whiplash injuries in road traffic accidents.

When used correctly, the back of the headrest should be as close to the back of the head as possible and either level with or above the top of the head. The few seconds it takes to adjust a head rest could save the driver weeks or months of discomfort, pain and inconvenience. In fact, the report suggests that taking this precaution could prevent over 125,000 whiplash injuries per year.

According to Thatcham's figures, car manufacturers are taking notice of the statistics; most car seats now offer passengers protection during a rear-end impact and 80% of new European vehicles achieved good or acceptable protection ratings.

The improvements in car safety have come about as the result of an International Insurer campaign from car safety specialists. Of the 250,000 whiplash injuries suffered through road traffic accidents, approximately 2,500 receive permanent, debilitating injuries that result from crashes at speeds as low as 10 mph.

However, compared to the results discovered by Thatcham in 2005, car safety has improved. Three years ago, only 16% of car seats were rated as 'good' and 36% were rated as 'poor'. In 2007, almost 30% of all new car seats achieve the 'good' rating and the 'poor' rating has dropped by 16% to 20%. Of these 20%, most are older designs that are due for replacement.

Thatcham bases their results on a test they have developed, using a specially designed BioRID crash test dummy. This dummy is designed to replicate the movements of a human in the event of a car crash. It assesses the forces that act upon the car's occupants and measures the time until the head and neck are supported.

Whiplash has long been considered as the 'forgotten injury'. Unfortunately it has taken the suffering and inconvenience of thousands of people to bring a condition to the fore that was originally identified in 1928.

Thankfully, the technology is now available to create preventative safety features that should see statistics for whiplash injuries as the result of road traffic accidents decrease over the next few years. In the meantime, drivers must do what they can to protect themselves and avoid hazardous incidents.

In the event that whiplash does occur, a sufferer can take some solace in the fact that there have been substantial advances in the treatment of these injuries - reducing the statistics for serious consequences of whiplash - and that there are now many personal injury law firms who specialize in recovering financial compensation for the financial and social losses that can be incurred.
About the Author
http://www.1stclaims.co.uk is run by a non-practising Personal Injury Solicitor with over 14 years personal injury claims experience. We use this first hand knowledge of the Personal Injury Claim system to hand select the very best personal injury solicitors for you. We deal with a range of personal injury claims, including whiplash claims and compensation. Please visit our website for further information.
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