Results of seat tests for the model year 2010

Since the IIWPG tests were launched in 2005, the safety of  seat/head restraint combinations has significantly improved. Whereas five years ago 60 percent of all seats tested were rated "marginal" or "poor", this year only 28 percent were. This was found in a study of 211 seats in cars of the model year 2010 aimed at the German market. The study was recently published by the UDV (German Insurers Accident Research).

Good seat/head restraint combinations are important in mitigating or entirely preventing at least minor injuries of the cervical spine.  The IIWPG test (IIWPG = International Insurance Whiplash Prevention Group) rates both the geometry and adjustability of the head restraint (static test) and the values measured for the dummy in the crash test (dynamic test).

Despite the positive trend, small cars and minivans, above all, still lag behind. Every second vehicle in these categories still has marginal or poor head restraints.

The most important results of the test year 2010:

  • Seats with marginal or poor head restraint geometry are now a real exception.

  • A trend toward active head restraints can be seen in seat development. In some large vehicles the head restraint is activated by the vehicle's crash sensors.

  • In the lower and midrange segments of the market, seat development is moving in the direction of interaction between the backrest and head restraint in the event of rear-end collisions.

  • Small cars and minivans still have the greatest shortcomings.

  • In the lower price segment, active head restraints are either not available or only at extra cost.

  • Seats without active head restraints often have significantly poorer test results for the same car model.

  • Some "entry-level models" (earlier model generations that are still kept available on the market at a favorable price) do not have the active head restraints that used to be available either as an option or as standard. It is therefore important to examine closely whether they are available when buying a car.

Laudable examples: Active head restraints are fitted as standard by Honda and Hyundai and are rated "good" even in the compact car category. Volkswagen, Audi and BMW are rated "good" in the compact car category with a "passive" combination of backrest and head restraint.