Euro NCAP | Whiplash protection


At Euro NCAP, we are simulating rear-end
crashes to evaluate the protection that car seat
offer against whiplash neck injury. Following a crash, whiplash injuries can
be hard to treat and often lead to lifetime discomfort
or disability. With over two million whiplash injuries
occurring every year on European roads, whiplash is the most common injury seen in
motor vehicle crashes. The injuries typically occur when the
occupants of the struck car are rapidly pushed forward by the striking car. In a real crash, you will get a push from behind and then your seat will reflect. If you have a bad seat it will only support your back and your head will stay free to move. That will result in your head-neck
system being pushed in a S-curve. A good seat can protect the
occupant by supporting the head and the neck together by reducing the S-shaped and eliminating
the injury. 80% of drivers fail to adjust
their head restraint correctly. And this particular seat would offer me
very poor levels of protection. But most head restraints can be adjusted correctly. This particular one, I could pull up and
adjust it so that it’s as high as the top of the head. To address the high number of whiplash
injuries across Europe, Euro NCAP began to assess whiplash
risk of new car models in 2008. Since then, more than 185 seats
have been tested. In the laboratory, the loading on the
occupants during the crash is reproduced by a sudden acceleration
of seat and crash dummy on a sled system. Various
seat performance criteria, including neck forces and seat geometric
features are used to evaluate the level of
protection of the car seat. For the testing, Euro NCAP first requests static measurements. So, all static measurements are done prior to any dynamic testing, to make sure that we will have to seat set up
the same way. These criteria will tell us how
good the seat is. In 2008, the average score was 1.7 at of 4. This year the scores are 2.9 out of 4, so seats are
improving. There are still many older cars on the
road with poorly designed seats and head restraints. But great improvements have been made by
carmakers over the past years in Europe. More than 90% of new cars
tested today offer front seats that mitigate the risk
of whiplash injury in a rear end collision. With little
attention to the rear seats, adults sitting in the back of a car are now
often at greater risk of whiplash injury. Whiplash protection is important for all occupants including those sitting in
the back of the car. But the design of the seats and the head
restraints in the back of cars tend to be very poor. However, new technologies may
offer the solution. This vehicle is fitted with an autonomous emergency braking system that
automatically brakes the vehicle if there’s a risk of a crash. It has shown to reduce whiplash injuries by 25 %. New tests introduced by
Euro NCAP in 2014 will see the assessment of rear seat head restraints. This will encourage vehicle manufacturers
to improve the seats for whiplash protection for every occupant in the vehicle. Euro NCAP recommends consumers to check whiplash scores when considering buying a new car.

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