Every 17 seconds, a car is rear-ended in America. Despite this fact, car manufacturers have done relatively little to protect us from whiplash.

Whiplash is the pain or stiffness that occurs in the neck after an injury which has caused the neck to move suddenly or to move beyond its normal range. Whiplash typically occurs when the head is suddenly forced forward or backward and then quickly snapped back in the other direction.

Most whiplash takes about 3 months to fully heal, but the pain from severe whiplash can last as long as a year. Neck injuries like whiplash are the most commonly reported type of crash-related injury. These types of injuries account for about 2 million insurance claims annually and end up costing the insurance industry at least $8.5 billion a year.

Vehicle manufacturers can help to prevent whiplash (or at least minimize its effects) by installing better head restraints and seat belts. But when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested 75 vehicles in 2007, only one-third of the cars were rated “Good” or “Acceptable.” Another third rated “Marginal,” and the final third rated “Poor.”

However, new federal guidelines for head-restraints are a first step towards solving the problem. The 2009 line of passenger vehicles will be required to have front outboard head restraints that reach a minimum of 29.5 inches upward from the occupant’s hips and must be able to be set within 2.2 inches of the occupants head.

When tested at a mere 20 miles per hour, Consumer Reports found that only nine 2007 and 2008 model vehicles earned the “Good” rating for rear crash protection in the front and back seats and also met the minimum height standard for all position:

  • Acura MDX
  • Audi A6
  • Ford Freestyle
  • Honda Pilot
  • Hyundai Entourage
  • Kia Sedona
  • Mercury Montego
  • Subaru B9 Tribeca
  • Volvo S60

To find out how your car rated, click here.

 

Contact the offices of David M. Benenfeld if you have been involved in a rear-end collision. We can help you get compensated if you are eligible. Call us today for a free consult and free case evaluation.