Most Cars Failing Head Restraint Testing

(CBS) - Think the seat/head restraints in your call will protect you and your passengers in a rear end collision?

Well, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the seat/head restraints on more than 60% of the car models it tested failed to adequately protect occupants in rear crashes, even low-impact crashes.

The Institute's study released on Thursday, reports that only 22 current car models rated good for rear-crash protection, while 53 other cars got a "marginal" or "poor" rating.

And some of the vehicles that the Institute gave an overall poor performance to include some of the nation's most popular cars.

A sampling includes: the Honda Accord EX and LX models with standard seats, Infiniti M35 with active head restraints, Jaguar X-Type, Toyota Avalon and Toyota Corolla.

However, the Honda Accord EX models with standard seats did receive a "good" rating for the geometry of seat/head restraint system and a "poor" for the dynamic rating.

Among the winners as rated by the Institute are all Volvos; Audi A4, S4 and A6; Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego; Nissan Sentra and Versa; Saab 9-3; and Subaru Impreza and Legacy/Outback.

The Institute also gave 12 other car models an "acceptable" rating.

According to the Institute, neck injuries - like whip lash - are the most common injuries resulting from automobile crashes, many of which are the result of a rear-end collision.

The Institute estimates that rear-end collisions account for $2 million insurance claims annually - costing more than $8.5 billion.

Although injuries like whip lash are usually not fatal, even minor neck injuries can be painful and can require medical care.

When a vehicle is struck from behind, the momentum pushes the seats and its occupants forward.

However, as a result the occupant's torso accelerates faster than the person's head, thus causing neck injuries like whip lash.

Seat/head restraints are designed to tighten upon impact to keep the person from going forward.

What the Institute was testing was how well a vehicle's restraint system handled in a rear-end collision at low speeds

While most manufactures have made improvements to their seat design and head/torso restraint system, the Institute said more work needs to be done.

The Institute began rear impact testing of seat/head restraints in 2004.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 6882227 -
Gray Television, Inc.