I know that this is an older article but some of the statistics in this article are eye-opening: 2 million rear impact crashes and 1 out of 5 of these result in neck injuries.
A Simple Adjustment Can Reduce Pain and Cost of Neck Injuries, But New Survey Shows Drivers Don't Understand the Importance of Head Restraint Positioning
Progressive logo. (PRNewsFoto)[PM]
CLEVELAND, OH USA 06/29/2000

More Than One In Five Rear-Impact Crashes
Result In Neck Injury, Costing Consumers Billions

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio, July 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Each year there
are nearly two million rear-impact vehicle crashes. Industry data show that
more than 20 percent of drivers in rear-impact crashes report neck injuries.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), neck injuries
cost the auto insurance industry, and ultimately consumers, more than
$7 billion a year. And while their research has also shown properly-positioned
head restraints can significantly reduce such injuries, a new survey from
Progressive has found that only 14 percent of drivers know the optimal
positioning of a head restraint. And, 18 percent of drivers think all
vehicles come with head restraints already properly positioned.
As part of its ongoing market research, Progressive (NYSE: PGR), whose
companies comprise one of the country's largest auto insurance groups,
conducted the survey of 22,600 drivers whose primary vehicle has adjustable
head restraints in an effort to understand their perceptions and use of head
restraints. The survey results show that 40 percent of drivers do not adjust
their head restraint when driving a newly-purchased vehicle and 57 percent
don't adjust them even after someone else has driven their vehicle. In
addition, 13 percent of drivers "have given no thought" to how high their head
restraint should be to protect them from neck injury.
"Fixing the position of your head restraint can help reduce your chances
of a neck injury in a rear-impact crash, but the survey tells us that few
people are doing it," said John Bindseil, medical claims manager for
Progressive. "More than one-third of your auto insurance premium goes to
coverages that pay for injuries caused by a car crash, including neck
injuries. People should know that proper head restraint adjustment can not
only help protect them from injury, but can also help lower the medical costs
associated with accidents -- which can ultimately help keep the cost of
insurance down for all consumers."
The optimal head restraint position is close to the back of the head of a
seated occupant -- no more than two and a half inches from the back of the
head. Additionally, the top of the head restraint should be as high as the
top of the occupant's head -- no lower than two and a half inches below the
top of the head.
"It's also important to note that some adjustable head restraints cannot
be locked into place or positioned properly for all drivers. In these cases,
drivers should do what they can to protect themselves, such as checking head
restraint positioning frequently or adjusting their seat backs," said
Later this year, the IIHS will release the results of a study that looks
at improved head restraint designs and their ability to minimize the
occurrence of neck injuries in rear-impact crashes.
The Progressive group of insurance companies, in business since 1937,
ranks fourth in the nation for auto insurance and provides drivers with
competitive rates and 24/7 service. The companies offer insurance by phone at
1-800-PROGRESSIVE, online at progressive.com and through more than 30,000
independent insurance agencies. The Progressive Corporation, the holding
company, has headquarters in Mayfield Village, Ohio. More information can be
found at progressive.com .
Proper positioning tips and a list of head restraint ratings for the most
popular vehicles can be found at progressive.com . Progressive has also made
this information available to independent agents on its secure Web site,

Courtney Neville
Progressive, Public Relations