Seat and head restraints in more than 60 percent of newer passenger vehicles on the road fail to offer optimal head and neck protection in rear-end crashes, a leading safety group said last week, according to a Reuters news report posted on ABC’s Web site .
Although the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that more vehicles performed better than before, several vehicle designs are still rate “marginal or poor,” said the group’s president, Adrian Lund. He said rear-end collisions are frequent and neck injuries are the most common reported in auto crashes, accounting for 2 million insurance claims annually that cost at least $8.5 billion.
“It’s not difficult or expensive to design more protective seat/head restraints,” Lund said.
The safety group’s study shows that head and seat restraints in 22 car models were rated good while 53 other vehicles posted marginal or poor scores. The results were based on analyses of restraint designs and simulated crashes at 20 mph. Tests analyzed how people of different sizes would be protected in a typical rear-end collision.
The results were an improvement over similar tests in 2004, when only eight models earned good ratings.
All Volvos scored well in the latest analysis as did the Audi A4, S4 and A6 models. The Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego, the Nissan Sentra and Versa, the Saab 9-3 and the Subaru Impreza and Legacy/Outback also earned good ratings. The Honda Civic two-door earned a good overall rating but the Accord LX and EX models received poor scores. The Toyota Corolla received a poor rating, while the Camry and popular Prius hybrid were marginal for head and neck protection, the institute found.
To me, these results are frightening, but not surprising. Here’s the question: If these seat restraints perform poorly in simulated crashes at 20 mph, what will happen when a car crashes at 40 mph? At Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, we know from three decades of experience that most of the cars we see on the freeway are poorly designed in terms of safety.
The statement that bothers me the most in this article is that car manufacturers are not taking proactive action although it doesn’t cost them money, time or effort. If it doesn’t cost them anything, is it just that these guys just don’t care? They just can’t be bothered about the safety of the people who buy, drive and ride in their vehicles? That’s the height of irresponsibility.
We’ve gone after many of these auto manufacturers time and again and won millions for our clients who have suffered loss of life and serious injuries because of such lackadaisical attitudes. Our federal enforcing agencies need to step up to the plate and raise the bar higher on auto safety. However, our federal regulatory agencies are to busy cozying up to the auto industry to attempt any real safety regulations on the part of the motoring public.