Head Restraints And Safety Seats

The Volvo Whiplash Protection System


Reducing long-term neck and spinal injuries by more than 50 percent

Irvine, CA (June 30, 2003) – First introduced in 1999, Volvo’s WHIPS is still being spotlighted. A new survey from Volvo’s traffic accident research team shows that WHIPS reduces short-term injuries by 33 percent and long-term injuries by 54 percent. However, Volvo is not alone in drawing this conclusion. Several independent surveys reveal significant reductions in whiplash injuries thanks to WHIPS.

In Sweden, the Swedish Road Administration and Swedish Insurance Institute, Folksam, published their survey findings and concluded that the number of whiplash incidents leading to serious injury would drop by 50 percent if all cars had the same system found in Volvo.

Recent studies in the United States also support these findings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) compared seats in car models featuring the new head restraint with the seats fitted to previous model years. Volvo (with WHIPS) topped the average injury-reduction ratings with 49 percent. In addition, Volvo has been awarded the highest rating for headrest safety by the IIHS on every one of its models since 1995.

Seven out of ten car accidents resulting in personal injuries involve whiplash injuries. The IIHS has discovered that “the key to reducing injury risk in rear-end crashes is to keep the head and torso moving together.” They further add that to protect occupants’ necks effectively; a head restraint must be high enough to catch the head and close enough to see it early in a crash.

As Volvo continues to lead the market in safety innovations, WHIPS has undoubtedly added to that success. As a result, WHIPS is offered standard on all Volvo vehicles.

The 2003 Volvo automobile line includes the award-winning XC90, the sporty S60 sedan – including the award-winning performance sedan – S60 R, the flagship S80 luxury sedan, the versatile V70 wagon, and rugged XC70 (Cross Country), the C70 convertible, and the compact S40 and V40 models.

A Note about WHIPS:
The WHIPS seat provides improved spinal support by its modified backrest characteristics and proximity of the head restraint’s position to the occupant’s head. WHIPS utilizes a specially designed hinge mount that attaches the backrest to the seat bottom, which has a pre-determined rate of rearward movement in the event of certain types of rear impacts. The seatback also has springs that allow the cushion to move slightly rearward upon impact, helping to cradle the body within the seat. This, combined with high-mounted head restraints, helps limit the head’s “whipping” motion that often occurs during a rear-end impact.