Volvo Cars of Canada Ltd. is seeking a cut in insurance premiums for Volvo drivers because of a unique seat design that the company says cuts whiplash injuries by as much as 54 per cent. Paul Cummings, president of Volvo Cars of Canada Ltd., has written the president or chief executive officer of every auto insurer in Canada to ask them to recognize Volvo’s WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) and reduce insurance rates for Volvo owners. "If those who drive and ride in Volvo cars suffer fewer and less severe injuries than others and the evidence is irrefutable then, in all fairness, their insurance premiums should be lower," Cummings writes. The insurance industry has blamed Canada’s spiraling insurance premiums on escalating damage awards for "soft-tissue injuries," of which whiplash caused by rear-end collisions is by far the most common. Cummings cites the results of a four-year study by Volvo Car Corporation of Sweden that indicates WHIPS has reduced short-term whiplash injuries by 33 per cent and long-term injuries (more than a year) by 54 per cent. Volvo research shows seven out of 10 personal injuries in auto collisions are whiplash-related. Cummings notes that independent studies have reached basically the same conclusions about WHIPS as Volvo:
The U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates the injury reduction for WHIPS at 49 per cent; Swedish insurance company Folksam and the Swedish Road Administration (SRA) jointly conducted a study comparing real-life accidents and concluded that Volvo’s WHIPS reduced the risk of severe whiplash injuries by 40 per cent; In a parallel study using crash-test dummies and seats from a variety of 2003 car models, Folksam and the SRA determined that Volvo seats were safest and that the overall injury reduction would be about 50 per cent if seats like Volvo’s were installed in other cars. WHIPS seats consist of a high head restraint fitted close to the head plus a well-developed seatback structure that restrains the moving body of the occupant. In a rear-end collision, the seatback moves backward, first in parallel, then in a short reclining movement. The forces on the occupant are further reduced by a deformation element where the seatback meets the cushion. Volvo Cars of Canada Ltd. is part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Gteborg, Sweden. The company provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to the 42 Volvo automobile retailers across the country.