Big Vehicles And Neck Injuries

We're back after a "driving holiday", when we were just one of millions of others who went to see relatives and let the kids run around in the fresh air far from the city. We own a minivan; when we bought it, I was pleased that we owned one that is well rated in crash tests. I even blogged about getting an insurance friendly vehicle.

Then I saw this morning's news online. In an article on, an insurance industry study shows that the head restraints in many SUVs, pickups and minivans are not providing the right protection against neck injuries.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested a number of vehicles in simulated rear crashes at a low 20 miles per hour. Many of the large vehicles failed to protect from neck injuries.

Neck injuries result in 2 million insurance claims every year, so failing to protect passengers and drivers from such injuries is a significant problem. Injuries mean more expensive claims; more expensive claims means more expensive car insurance.

In today's "stop and go" traffic, low speed rear impact crashes are the most likely traffic mishap. Car manufacturers have to step up to the plate to address this challenge. In the current study, of 87 vehicles reviewed, a disturbing 54 were rated marginal or poor, the two lowest ratings of the four. Only 12 got a score of acceptable. The remaining 21 got the best rating. 

The 2007 results are better than the 2006 results. In 2006, only 6 of 44 SUVs got a top rating while this year, 17 of 59 SUVs got a rating of good.

Want to pick the right make and model for your SUV? Look at the following models: Acura MDX and RDX; Lincoln MKX, Ford Edge and Ford Freestyle; Honda CR-V, Element and Pilot; Hyundai Santa Fe; Jeep Grand Cherokee; Kia Sorento; Land Rover LR3; Mercedes M Class; Mitsubishi Outlander; Subaru B9 Tribeca and Forester, and Volvo XC90. If a pickup is more your style, look at the Toyota Tundra. It was the only pickup to get a top score. However, if a minivan fits your family best, check out the Ford Freestar, Hyundai Entourage and the Kia Sedona.

I'm sorry to say that our family's minivan is not on the list. It rates well for frontal crashes, but doesn't seem to have the neck protection for rear crashes.

Monique L. Attinger 

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