Claims News Service, Jan. 9, 10:22 a.m. EST — Only six of the seat/head restraint combinations in 44 current model SUVs are rated good for protection against whiplash injuries in rear-end crashes, according to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. None of the seat/head restraint designs in 15 pickup truck models earned a good rating. Overall, the Institute found that four out of five SUV and pickup seat/head restraints are rated marginal or poor for whiplash protection. This is the first time the Institute has tested SUV and pickup seats using a dummy that can measure forces on the neck during a simulated rear-end crash.

Only the seats in the Ford Freestyle, Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover LR3, Subaru Forester, and Volvo XC90 models earned good overall ratings. Among those earning poor ratings in seat/head restraints are popular models such as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Ford Explorer, and Toyota 4Runner SUVs, plus the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and some seats in Ford F-150 and Dodge Dakota pickups.

"Manufacturer advertising often emphasizes the rugged image of SUVs and pickups," says Institute president Adrian Lund. "However, the Institute's evaluations show seats and head restraints in many models wouldn't do a good job of protecting most people in a typical rear impact in everyday commuter traffic."

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