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Head Restraint Danger to Drivers and Passengers

November 11, 2009

“Most drivers don’t have a clue if head restraints are right or not.” – Mary Williams, Chief executive, Brake

Two out of three drivers do not know how to correctly position the head restraints in their vehicles, or wrongly think that the top should be level with their neck or ears, a survey by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line Car Insurance has found.

The remaining one in three said, correctly, that the top of the restraint should be level with the top of your head, to protect your head and stop your neck ‘hyper-extending’ backwards in a crash.

Two out of three respondents also said they never or rarely checked their restraints and only one in seven claimed to always check. Only 6% of motorists who took part in the survey both knew how to correctly position their head restraints and regularly checked them.

Mary Williams, Brake chief executive, said:  “Even if drivers did regularly check their head restraint, the research shows us that most wouldn’t have a clue if it was correct or not, which probably explains why they don’t bother.  There needs to be a major awareness-raising campaign on this life-saving, simple measure that we can all take.

“Incorrect head restraints result in death, permanent disability and, in the more minor cases, excruciating back and neck pain. Yet it only takes a couple of seconds to check and adjust your restraint and those of other occupants in your vehicle.”

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