Drive a Saab and miss whiplash

Drive a Saab and miss whiplash  
Filed under:
News, Saab
on 12/18/2006

Source: Saab

For the second year running, Swedish premium car-maker Saab has been commended by the independently-operated Thatcham Motor Insurance Repair Centre for the effectiveness of its Active Head Restraints in reducing neck injury. Thatcham has just released the results of its second annual whiplash testing results for the 2006 Model Year, in which it concludes that the Swedish car manufacturers, including Saab, ‘still regard whiplash injury as a priority’, with 100 per cent of models ranking in the highest-possibly category. This compares starkly with the results of other premium brands. For example, of the 20 German premium cars surveyed, just a fifth of those were ranked ‘good’, whilst a worrying 25 per cent were ranked as ‘poor’.

Even after a relatively minor impact, neck injury following rear-end collisions is a common driver complaint, which can have debilitating long-term effects. In fact, according to Thatcham, whiplash remains still the most common injury in motor vehicle crashes, with over 250,000 cases reported by British Insurers annually.

The Saab 9-5 pioneered the use of Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR) back in 1996. Since then, the patented technology has been fitted as standard to both front seats of all Saab models sold in the UK. Independent crash investigation

ratings from around the world have shown SAHR to reduce serious neck injury to front seat occupants in the event of a rear end collision, by as much as 75 per cent compared to cars not fitted with the technology.

The head restraint is activated in a rear end impact as soon as the occupant's lower back is pressed into the seatback. The head restraint is connected by a linkage to a pressure plate in the backrest of the seat. Inertia forces the occupant's body into the backrest against the pressure plate which triggers a mechanism to push the head restraint upwards and forward, catching the head and helping to minimise neck movement. This helps prevent neck injury by reducing the amount of head movement relative to the torso. The SAHR system is entirely mechanical and after activation the head restraint automatically springs back to its passive position, ready for future use.

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