2006-10-24 00:00:00

Do Modern Cars Increase the Risk of Whiplash?

There is no doubt that automobile manufactures have been successful in lowering fatalities associated automobile accident.? Advancements like airbags have been credited with preventing serious injury and preventing death, but do these advancements come at a cost.

Why can one person suffer chronic pain following a low speed rear-end collision, while another can walk away with just minor symptoms?? This is a question that has haunted whiplash research for 40 years.? A new study conducted by some of the world’s leading engineers indicates that one culprit may be bumper design.

Bumper stiffness has been a major issue in the insurance industry the last few years.? The Insurance Institution for Highway Safety rates cars annually on how expensive it is to repair bumpers after low speed collisions, with the goal of making them stiffer - and less expensive to fix.

A state-of-the-art study was performed to determine the forces that are being experienced by occupants of cars with bumpers that have been stiffened to keep repair costs down.? The researchers found that the occupants of these cars experienced a larger acceleration which translated to increased force on the joints and muscles of the neck.

Another key factor in preventing whiplash injury is proper headrest placement.? If the headrest is too low or too far from the back of the head, the head experiences a higher degree of whipping when the occupant is struck from behind.? The top of the headrest should be just below the top of the head and there should be very little space between the back of the head and the headrest.

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