# THE EFFECT OF WHIPLASH PROTECTION SYSTEMS IN REAL-LIFE CRASHES AND THEIR CORRELATION TO CONSUMER CRASH TEST PROGRAMMES

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3 injury risk for the sum of all cars in each group studied was calculated. In a similar way the relative risk of injury in rear-end crashes can be calculated with the same technique, where the number of crashes with injured drivers in the struck car in rear-end crashes in relation to the number of crashes with injured drivers in the striking car are summed, see Table 1. The method used in this study to calculate relative injury risk has been further described by Hägg et al. (1992) and Hägg et al (1999). The initially presented method is relevant for cars of similar mass. If Car 1 and Car 2 have unequal mass, the exposure to impact severity will be unequal as well. While crashworthiness rating based on real-life experience should preferably show the benefit or dis-benefit of mass, the current method would give too much attention to mass, as it would also include the benefit or dis-benefit for the colliding partner. When calculating the injury risk for car models relative to the average car, it is important that the relative injury risk for all car models can be compared with the identical average car. This is not the case if the influence of mass differences on the exposure for the collision partner is not compensated. The initial estimate, equation (1), must therefore be modified to take mass relations into account. The factor m was calculated for the car models in each group under study, and thus used to compensate the relative injury risk for the models in each group, see equation (2). Table 1. Classification of combinations of injured drivers in the struck and striking car in rear-end crashes. Drivers in the struck car driver injured driver not injured Drivers in the striking car Total driver injured driver not injured x 1 x 2 x 1 + x 2 x 3 x 4 Total x 1 + x 3 x 1 = number of crashes with injured drivers in both cars x 2 = number of crashes with injured drivers in struck car and not in the striking car x 3 = number of crashes with injured drivers in striking car and not in struck car x 4 = number of crashes without injured drivers in both cars R = (x 1 + x 2 ) / (x 1 + x 3 ) (1). R modified = R*m ((M-Maverage)/100) = = (x 1 + x 2 ) / (x 1 + x 3 ) *m ((M-Maverage)/100) (2). M is the mass of the studied vehicle and M average is the average mass of all vehicles. In these calculations the factor m was set as 1.035, see Hägg et al. (1992), which means that the mass effect used to control for the exposure on impact severity was 3.5% per 100 kg. The relative risk of sustaining an injury with long-term symptom was calculated as the product of the relative injury risk and the proportion of occupants with long-term symptoms in relation to the number of reported whiplash injuries. Categories of cars studied The whiplash injury and disability risks were calculated for some different categories; If the car was fitted with a specially designed whiplash protection system. Those not fitted with whiplash protection system were divided in cars launched before and after Kind of whiplash protection system in cars launched after Performance in the IIWPG ratings. Performance in the Folksam/SRA ratings. The whiplash protections systems defined are RHR-Reactive Head Restraint, WhiPS (Volvo) and WIL (Toyota). Cars with seats fitted with RHR were divided into Saab RHR and RHR in the other manufacturers. Standard seats were defined as those not fitted with any of the systems mentioned above. A group with standard seats tested in consumer ratings was also compared. RESULTS A summary of the results is presented in Table 2. Detailed number of crashes and injured for the calculation of relative injury risk is presented in Table 3 in the Appendix. Cars fitted with more advanced whiplash protection systems had approximately 50% lower proportion of whiplash injuries leading to long-term symptoms as cars with standard seats launched after Also, the relative risk of a sustaining a whiplash injury leading to long-term symptoms was approximately 50% lower in cars fitted with more advanced whiplash protection systems than in cars Kullgren 3

6 REFERENCES ADAC website: Evans L (1986) Double pair comparison a new method to determine how occupant characteristics affect fatality risk in traffic crashes. Accid. Anal. and Prev., Vol. 18, No. 3:pp Folksam (2005) How safe is your car? or Folksam Research Stockholm Sweden. Försäkringsförbundet (1996) Gadering av medicinsk invaliditet 96 (only in Swedish). IFU Utbildning AB, Stockholm Sweden. Hägg A, v Koch M, Kullgren A, Lie A, Nygren Å, Tingvall C (1992) Folksam Car Model Safety Rating , Folksam Research , Stockholm, Sweden. Hägg A, Krafft M, Kullgren A, Lie A, Malm S, Tingvall C, Ydenius A (1999) Folksam Car Model Safety Ratings 1999, Folksam Research , Stockholm, Sweden. IIHS website: Jakobsson L (1998) Automobile Design and Whiplash Prevention. In: Whiplash Injuries: Current Concepts in Prevention, Diagnoses and Treatment of the Cervical Whiplash Syndrome. Edited by Robert Gunzberg, Maerk Szpalski, Lippincott-Raven Publishers, pp , Philadelphia. Jakobsson L. Whiplash Associated Disorders in Frontal and Rear-End Car Impacts. Biomechanical. Thesis for the degree o doctor of philosophy. Crash Safety Dividson, Dep of Machine and Vehicle Systems. Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden ( Evaluation of whiplshprotection systems in rearend collisions real-life crashes and crash tests ). Folksam and SRA, Folksam research Stockholm, Sweden. Lundell B, Jakobson L, Alfredsson B, Lindström M, Simonsson L (1998) The WHIPS seat A car seat for improved protection against neck injuries in rear end impacts. Paper No 98-S7-O-08, Proc. 16th ESV Conf, 1998, pp Nygren Å (1984) Injuries to car occupants some aspects of the interior safety of cars. Akta Oto- Laryngologica, Supplement 395. Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm. Sweden. ISSN Nygren Å, Gustavsson H, Tingvall C (1985) Effects of Different Types of Headrests in Rear-end Collisions. Proc. of the 9 th ESV conf. Oxford, UK. pp85-90 Sekizuka M (1998) Seat Designs for Whiplash Injury Lessening, Proc. 16th Int. Techn. Conf. on ESV, Windsor, Canada. Thatcham website: Viano D and Olsen S (2001) The Effectiveness of Active Head Restraint in Preventing Whiplash. The Journal of TRAUMA Vol 51:pp Whiplashkommissionen (2003) (Swedish whiplash commission) Wiklund K, Larsson H (1997) SAAB Active Head Restraint (SAHR) - Seat Design to Reduce the Risk of Neck Injuries in Rear Impacts, SAE Paper , Warrendale. Kommunkationsdepartementet (1997) På väg mot det trafiksäkra samhället, DS 1997:13, (English short version: En Route to a Society with Safe Road Traffic, Selected extract from Memorandum prepared by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, DS 1997:13), Stockholm. Kraftt M (1998) Non-Fatal Injuries to Car Occupants - Injury assessment and analysis of impacts causing short- and long-term consequences with special reference to neck injuries, Thesis, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Krafft M, Kullgren A, Lie A, Tingvall C (2003) Utvärdering av whiplashskydd vid påkörning bakifrån verkliga olyckor och krockprov. Kullgren 6

7 APPENDIX Table 3. Numbers of crashes with different combinations of injured occupants and relative injury risks in rearend crashes. No. crashes X 1 X 2 X 3 R m R modified Cars with and Seats with whiplash system ,95 1,03 0,98 without whiplash Standard seats from MY ,07 0,98 1,05 protection Standard seats until MY ,00 0,97 0,97 Type of whiplash RHR ,95 1,17 1,11 device Saab RHR ,93 1,05 0,98 Other RHR ,03 1,00 1,04 WHIPS ,92 1,03 0,95 WIL ,17 0,94 1,10 Standard seats tested ,09 0,98 1,06 Other standard seats ,07 0,97 1,04 IIWPG rating Good ,92 1,03 0,95 Acceptable ,27 0,97 1,24 Marginal ,23 0,98 1,21 Poor ,07 0,98 1,04 Good+Acc ,94 1,03 0,97 Marg+Poor ,11 0,98 1,09 Not tested ,02 0,97 0,98 Folksam/SRA Green ,92 1,06 0,98 rating Green ,92 1,07 0,98 Yellow ,34 0,97 1,30 Red ,00 1,03 1,03 Above average ,92 1,03 0,95 Below average ,12 0,95 1,07 Not tested ,02 0,97 0,99 Total ,01 0,99 1,00 Kullgren 7

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