Vehicle tests assess whiplash protection

New tests at the Thatcham vehicle safety research centre show that many car seats do not protect occupants adequately in rear end accidents.

New tests at the Thatcham vehicle safety research centre show that many car seats do not protect occupants adequately in rear end accidents.

Thatcham devised and carried out the tests on behalf of Euro NCAP - the European New Car Assessment Programme - at its insurer-funded Berkshire facility.

Three cars previously considered to offer five-star protection for Adult Occupant Safety were shown to offer ‘poor’ protection in rear end accidents and a total of 80 per cent of seats tested failed to offer proper protection!

The three 'five-star' models found wanting in the new rear protection seat tests were the Citroen C5, the Ford Kuga and the Peugeot 308 CC. The latter scored zero in the series of tests.

Each of the seats was subject to three dynamic sled tests two at a low speed and one at a higher speed. Some that received Euro NCAP’s worst results, with a ‘poor’ or ‘red’ score, provided limited protection at the lower test severity, but yielded excessively at the higher speed, leading to a zero score.

Thatcham director and Euro NCAP board member Andrew Miller said: “These results show a real need for some manufacturers to take a long hard look at their seat design."

British figures show that in 2007 more than 430,000 people claimed that they had suffered a whiplash injury, accounting for £1.9 billion in insurance payouts and a huge drain on the National Health Service.

Models that performed well in the tests were: Volvo XC60, Audi A4, Opel Insignia, Alfa Romeo Mito and the Volkswagen Golf VI.

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