Whiplash Injury – Are Current Head Restraints Doing Their Job?

  • Published: TRL and University of Manchester, 1999
  • Authors: R. Minton (TRL), P. Murray, W. Stephenson, C. Galasko (University of Manchester)
  • Date Added: 04 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 04 Feb 2013
  • Format: pdf


To determine whether any other factors, in addition to head restraint adjustment, could be found which would influence the severity of whiplash injury.


This was done by linking medical assessment of real-world RTI victims with engineering assessment of the RTI vehicles. A random sample of road RTI victims suffering from whiplash associated disorder was studied. The vehicles they had been travelling in were examined to assess impact severity and, where possible, measurements were made of seat and head restraint adjustment with the subject sitting in the vehicle.

Key Findings:

  • Frontal impact victims suffered symptoms indistinguishable from those of rear impact victims.

  • The beneficial effects of good head restraint adjustment could not be clearly demonstrated, even for rear impact victims, where the benefits of a well-adjusted restraint should have been very clear.


Head restraints, Whiplash


UK-based study raising interesting points on head restraints.