IBC Commissions Students to Promote Unique Ontario Road Safety Program

May 28, 2003

Taking an extra minute to properly adjust the headrest in one’s vehicle can help to prevent injury.

That’s the message Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) will deliver with, Rest Up! Save Your Neck, a unique community outreach initiative being rolled out by university students across Ontario over the next three months. The campaign was launched at the Delaware Speedway.

Rear-end collisions account for 80 percent of whiplash and other soft tissue injuries in Canada. “If every driver and passenger were to perform the simple act of properly adjusting their headrests, the number of whiplash injuries could be reduced by 40 percent,” said Stan Griffin, president and CEO of IBC. “That could save people from unnecessary pain and suffering, and policyholders could end up saving money on their insurance premiums.”

“This campaign is designed to make Canadians aware that headrests are not installed in vehicles just for comfort,” continued Griffin. “Like seatbelts, they are an important safety feature, that can help to reduce severe injury.” Rest Up! Save Your Neck is part of a three-year national road safety campaign that IBC is championing.

Exhibits staffed by Ontario university students will appear at cultural and community events in hundreds of communities throughout the province.

According to a recent study conducted by IBC, only 14 percent of Canadians have their headrests in the proper position. “This means that 86 percent of Canadians drive at high risk. We want to change this,” added Griffin.

Given that about 75 percent of the headrests in vehicles today are adjustable rather than fixed, soft tissue injuries are reportedly largely preventable. “Drivers and passengers can reduce the risk of whiplash simply by raising their headrests to a safe position. And who better to teach us the correct position, but students?” said Griffin.

Insurance companies reportedly spend approximately $4 billion annually to help accident victims recover from soft tissue injuries, essentially those that do not involve bones or organs.

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