Ontario Students to Promote IBC Road Safety Program

May 28, 2003

The Insurance Bureau of Canada announced the launch of “a unique community outreach initiative being rolled out by university students across Ontario over the next three months.”

Called “Rest Up! Save Your Neck,” the initiative aims at getting drivers to take “an extra minute to properly adjust the headrest in your vehicle can help to prevent injury.” The IBC explained that, “Rear-end collisions account for 80% of whiplash and other soft tissue injuries in Canada.”

IBC President and CEO Stan Griffin stated, “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%. That could save people from unnecessary pain and suffering, and policyholders could end up saving money on their insurance premiums. The IBC estimates that insurance companies spend approximately C$4 billion (U.S.$ 2.91 billion) annually to help accident victims recover from soft tissue injuries, essentially those that do not involve bones or organs.

“This campaign is designed to make Canadians aware that headrests are not installed in vehicles just for comfort,” Griffin continued. “Like seatbelts, they are an important safety feature, that can help to reduce severe injury.”

Exhibits staffed by Ontario University students will appear at cultural and community events in hundreds of communities throughout the province. “This is a great summer job. I have the opportunity to travel throughout Ontario to help people make their lives safer,” commented Stuart Murray from Iona Station, ON, one of the students hired by IBC to participate in the campaign.

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

“Given that about 75% of the headrests in vehicles today are adjustable rather than fixed, soft tissue injuries are largely preventable,” said the IBC. “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?” Griffin concluded.

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