Prevention is Possible: How Head Restraints Can Prevent Whiplash Injuries. Funded by the AUTO21 Network of Centers of Excellence

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1 Prevention is Possible: How Head Restraints Can Prevent Whiplash Injuries Funded by the AUTO21 Network of Centers of Excellence

2 Who, what, when, why & how? 6 UBC + 1 U Windsor Researchers + Sponsors Researchers: D. Romilly (Pr. Lead UBC, Mech. Eng.) M. White (UBC, Fam. Med. CIRPD) E. Desirapriya (UBC Ped. BCIRPU) P. Lawrence (UBC, Elec. & Com. Eng.) J.S. Blouin (UBC, Hum. Kinetics) G. Siegmund (UBC, Hum. Kin. MEA) A. Snowdon (U Windsor Business) AUTO 21 - Network of Centres of Excellence for Canada R&D for Vehicle for 21 st Century: Health, Safety and Injury Prevention Societal Issues & Future Automobile Materials and Manufacturing Powertrains, Fuels and Emissions Design Processes Intelligent Systems and Sensors Sponsors: The Woodbridge Group MEA Forensic Engineers 200 researchers at 45 universities with over 150 industry and government partners

3 Who, what, when, why & how? AUTO 21 Project A402: Prevention: Reducing Occupant Injury in Rear End Collisions Started: April 2009 Ending: March ? (possible 1 yr renewal) Prevention: Developing Strategies for Improved Head Restraint Use Development of an Automatic Head Restraint Positioning System Future Vehicles Development of Seat Whiplash Mitigation Systems Future Vehicles

4 Who, what, when, why & how? Typical seat: Head restraint: (fixed or manually adjustable limited movement) Seat back: (static design for the average person) Seat base: (not designed as a safety component) Future seat: Head restraint: (actively adjusts to the occupant ) Seat back: (adaptive design adjusts to both occupant & impact) Seat base: (energy absorbing to reduce injury risk) Current fleet (here now!) Future fleet (when?)

5 Who, what, when, why & how? AUTO 21 Project A402: Prevention: Developing Strategies for Improved Head Restraint Use Whiplash Campaign Advisory Committee Goal: Prevention is possible! Increase proper HR use! Methods: 1) Increase awareness through intervention programs 2) Increase number of good vehicles in fleet 3) Assess HR use in BC and effectiveness of programs

6 Who, what, when, why & how? Whiplash Campaign Advisory Committee Current Initiatives: 1) Focus groups: Fleet Manager & OH&S 2) Advisory steering committee: Fleet Manger, OH&S, Health Professionals 3) Web Portal & Resource dev.: 4) Observational studies (BC public & stakeholder sites) 5) Other dissemination efforts (seminars, presentations, etc.)

7 Why? Consider the costs! In Canada whiplash injuries account for over 2 million insurance claims each year In British Columbia alone, the economic costs exceed C$ 600 million/year (ICBC) Whiplash injuries account for more than 70% of all bodily injury claims (Navan et al., 2000). Cost is in terms of lost work productivity medical care disability sick leave litigation

8 What is the problem? Incorrect head restraint position (86%) Correct head restraint position (14%) Males 7% Head restraint position statistics in Canada Females 23% Source: IBC (2002)

9 What is the Problem? NL 15% BC 18% AB 16% ON 13% PEI 8% NB 7% NS 12% Proper head restraint positioning statistics across Canada

10 When does whiplash occur? For many vehicle types currently on our roads, this injury can occur at impact speeds as low as 8 km/h (i.e. about 5 mph) Rear - end collision Side - impact collision

11 How does whiplash occur? 1. Normal position 2. Spine straightens 3. Head extension 4. Rebound

12 Is prevention possible? Yes! Serious injuries can be prevented

13 Is prevention possible? Studies have shown that properly adjusted good rated head restraints can reduce serious neck injuries by 35%

14 How can whiplash be prevented? Raise the head restraint (HR) so that the center of the head restraint is slightly above the top of the ear The head restraint should be 2-8 centimeters from the back of your head When adjusted properly the head restraint can be very effective in preventing injuries

15 How can whiplash be prevented? Too low & too far away! Better position!

16 How can whiplash be prevented?

17 Resting your head isn t the same as restraining it! This part of the vehicle is for resting. This isn t.

18 Strategies Literature review & identification of credible web resources Planning of a web portal Initial Focus group - Fleet Managers & Occupational Health & Safety Establishment of advisory steering committees Develop and pilot test targeted surveys Create meaningful educational resources U Tube video clips for secondary/ post secondary Create social media communication plan

19 What has been done to-date? 1. Completion of literature review and book - Head Restraints and Whiplash: The Past, Present and Future 2. Development of credible content 3. Initial focus group & fleet managers survey 4. Beta version of web portal: 5. BC Fleet Manager Presentation (June 18, 2010) 6. International Cochrane Systematic Review (Protocol stage) 7. Establishment of Advisory Steering Committee (July 2010) 8. Road-side observational survey (on-going)

20

21 Future work 1. Pilot-testing head restraint prevalence surveillance system at organizations with large passenger car fleets in BC 2. To conduct intervention programs at different organizations 3. Completion of International Cochrane Systematic Review

22 Change in current practice Buy or lease safer vehicles The goal Adjust head restraint properly for maximum protection Implement and sustain educational programs and policies to improve safety behaviour Social marketing initial roll out in BC

23 Our goal Refining web-based tool Users select make, model, type, year Head restraint rating Overall safety rating Green ratings Cost Selection of better alternatives Best across all categories

24 Your inputs, ideas & participation in the project activities are welcome! Thank you for your participation!

25 Take home message Prevention is possible! Take action today to save lives & to reduce cost!

26 Air Canada BC Hydro Advisory Steering Committee Organizational Partners BC Automobile Association Burnaby City Hall Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability Health Employers Association of BC Insurance Corporation of BC Massage Therapists Association of BC MEA Forensics New Car Dealers of BC Physiotherapy Association of BC Terasen Gas

27 AUTO21 Acknowledgements Biomechanical Research & Testing, LLC Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Thatcham Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) Insurance Bureau of Canada. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit UBC Departments of Family Practice, Pediatrics & Mechanical Engineering

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