1997 Vehicle Head Restraints: How Good Are They?

In The Guide to Low Velocity Whiplash Biomechanics, we referred to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that found that most head restraints in 1995 vehicles were improperly designed for preventing whiplash injuries. Has the situation improved?

The latest information from the Institute, a non-profit organization funded solely by insurance companies, states clearly that it has not. The Institute examined the head restraints of 200 1997 vehicles, and found that fewer than 3 percent had the proper design to prevent injury. More than half of the seats had poor restraints.

Also, if a person wants a quality head restraint, they should be prepared to pay for it. The five vehicles with good head restraints were: Honda Civic Del Sol, Mercedes E class, Toyota Supra, and the Volvo 850 and 960.

Special Issue: Head restraints. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Status Report 1997;32(4).