Group Endorses Volvo Anti-Whiplash System


A U.S. auto insurance group has endorsed a new seating technology from Volvo after tests showed that the Swedish auto maker’s system sharply reduces the sudden head motion that leads to whiplash injury.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said its researchers tested a new seat-back and head-restraint combination called Whips (Highway 1, Nov. 5) against other Volvo seat systems already regarded as superior designs.

“These results are clear,” said Brian O’Neill, the institute’s president. “They leave no doubt that Whips does a better job than even a good conventional seat-back head-restraint combination.”

O’Neill, quoting the most recent figures, said the insurance industry paid out $10 billion in claims in 1992 for U.S. accidents in which whiplash was the most serious injury.


Whips--short for whiplash protection seat design--is featured in Volvo’s new high-end S80 sedan. The system has a hinge at the bottom of the seat back that allows it to move rearward to reduce the forward acceleration of the torso.

A head restraint positioned high and close to the back of the head also contributes by catching the head and moving it forward with the torso.