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Study could reduce whiplash compensation claims

Recent research has shown that nearly 63% of motorists fail to position their head restraints correctly and risk having to make whiplash compensation claims for car accident injuries.

The study carried out by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, Thatcham, reported that 250,000 drivers suffer from neck injuries every year with a number of motorists subsequently contacting no win no fee solicitors to make whiplash compensation claims.

Thatcham stated that 125,000 people could have prevented their injuries by correctly adjusting their head restraints as their headrest would limit the impact caused by a road traffic accident. The report found that male drivers in particular were at risk of making whiplash compensation claims as only 25% positioned their head restraint correctly.

Thatcham's crash lab manager said, "The manufacturers are doing their bit - now the public have to wake up to whiplash. The head restraint should be seen as every bit as important as the seatbelt - yet people seem oblivious as how to use it properly.

"These figures are shocking. If people are made aware of the risks they are running they would take a few seconds to adjust their restraint whenever they get into a vehicle.

"More than 125 whiplash injuries could be prevented in this country each year if people took a little time out to save their necks."

Thatcham have examined a number of car models that could limit whiplash compensation claims by redesigning car seats that will be able to improve a person's head restraint positioning. This examination revealed that 80% of seats derived from Europe achieved "good" or acceptable" in whiplash tests.

In particular, Thatcham believes that Volvo and Saab are especially good when it comes to whiplash safety and nearly every new model made by the car manufactures receive high ratings in tests carried out for neck injury prevention.

Ford and Renault are also developing specialist car seats in some of their latest models which could lead to a reduction in the number of people contacting personal injury solicitors to make whiplash compensation claims.

Road safety experts believe that head restraints could reduce the number of people sustaining neck injuries in serious motor accidents. To achieve a correct positioning, car users should ensure that the head restraint is level with the top of the head and that it is as close to the head as possible when sat comfortably in a car seat. A few seconds of adjusting could limit the risk of sustaining serious personal injuries in the event of a car accident.