Nissan Adopts Anti-Whiplash Head Restraints
4 February 1999Nissan Adopts Anti-Whiplash Head Restraints; Infiniti Q45, I30 Will be First to Receive Safety Feature
CARSON, Calif., Feb. 2 -- Nissan North America today announced the introduction of an active head restraint system for driver and front passenger seats on most Infiniti sedans sold in the United States beginning later this year. The restraint system is designed to help reduce whiplash neck injuries suffered primarily in rear-end collisions. The system, made under license from Lear Corporation, will be available as standard equipment on model year 2000 Infiniti Q45 and I30 luxury sedans. The system will be incorporated in other Infiniti and Nissan vehicles in the future. In Japan, the system was installed in a Nissan vehicle last September. Nissan also plans to introduce the active head restraint system in European market vehicles beginning in early 2000. Whiplash injuries stem from a misalignment of the neck and head, which may occur when a vehicle is struck from behind. In such a situation, a vehicle occupant's body is pushed forward by the seat while an unsupported head remains in essentially the same position, resulting in a head-neck misalignment. Forces in these kinds of collisions cause the head to move rearward relative to the neck, extending and retroflexing the neck. Nissan's analysis of test data obtained in volunteer medical experiments with a prototype seat, found that the active head restraint provides specific benefits to the three primary movements in the neck during rear-end collisions: * Vertical stretching of the neck was reduced by about 35 percent. * The Neck Injury Criterion value, an index of the severity of the head's backward movement, was reduced by about 65 percent. * The backward rotational angle of the head, resulting from retroflexion of the neck, was reduced by about 35 percent. Nissan's active head restraint system mechanically moves the seat's head restraint upward and forward, providing support for the occupant's head. Springs in the seat structure return the headrest to its normal position after the collision. "We are always looking for ways to increase customers' enjoyment of their Nissan and Infiniti vehicles and provide them with as safe and secure an environment as technology allows and customers want," said Jason Vines, vice president of Nissan North America. "We think that devices such as the active head restraint system and front and side supplemental air bags will create an even more satisfying and enjoyable driving experience." In North America, Nissan's operations include styling, engineering, manufacturing, sales, consumer and corporate financing, and industrial and textile equipment. Nissan in North America employs more than 20,000 people in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and generates more than 70,000 jobs through more than 1,500 Nissan and Infiniti dealerships across the continent.