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Dealers targeted to cut whiplash injuries

A campaign urging UK car dealerships to play a proactive role in whiplash injury prevention, by showing buyers how to position their head restraints properly, is launched today to coincide with the new September '53' plate registrations.

The campaign comes from esure, Sainsbury's Bank, Thatcham (the premier motor insurer supported research centre) and Lyons Davidson Solicitors, the UK principal for 'Save Your Neck', who have joined forces and written to over 3,000 car dealerships. The letters, which will arrive on 1st September, urge those selling new or second-hand cars to demonstrate the correct head restraint alignment to purchasers.

The campaign comes three weeks before 'Save Your Neck' day when head restraint demonstrations will take place a number of Sainsbury's car parks. The four organisers will also be distributing credit card sized 'crib cards' showing how to adjust head restraints optimally.

Whiplash can occur at speeds as low as five miles an hour and around 20% of people involved in rear-end collisions later experience whiplash symptoms. It affects an estimated 200,000 people each year in the UK. Around £1.6bn of whiplash claims are met each year from drivers' insurance premiums and 80% of all personal injury costs are for whiplash. Thatcham rsearch indicates that 72% of front seat occupants do not adjust their head restraints correctly.

Gordon Hannah, Head of Claims at esure, said: "Car dealerships will usually demonstrate all of the controls in a car to a purchaser as part of the sale. We believe they can use this unique chance to show how to position a head restraint - and more importantly why they should do so. If there is a strong uptake, we estimate it could bring about a strong reduction in the number of injuries".

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