While some people think head restraints are there for comfort, people who have been involved in low-speed, tail-end accidents know better. They know that head restraints reduce the likelihood of neck injuries such as whiplash.
Insurance Research Council studies on injuries in auto accidents have found that soft tissue injuries such as neck and back sprains and strains constitute the greatest number of injuries sustained by auto injury victims.
Although car manufacturers continue to improve the design of head restraints, safety advocates stress that occupants must take an active role in making sure that head restraints are used properly. Often, motorists choose to leave them in the lowest position, which may provide inadequate protection against whiplash injury.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the economic cost of neck injuries is at least $7 billion per year. If your organization employs drivers, you can help control those costs by making them aware of the proper use of head restraints. Saab, who pioneered the use of head restraints in 1958, offers the following tips.
Remember, head restraints are more than head rests. They serve an important purpose and, when used properly, can protect drivers from painful neck injuries and protect your organization from costly medical claims.