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Euro NCAP tests become broader-ranging

13 January 2006

Euro NCAP crash tests are set to become more detailed, with new ratings for whiplash protection and active safety systems.

The ability to prevent or limit whiplash injuries is likely to be the first to be incorporated into the tests, Volvo safety boss Ingrid Skogsmo told industry newspaper Automotive News Europe, although no timescales have been given.

Skogsmo said the tests wouldn't require another car to be crashed, but would be done with a seat and a dummy on a sled, the same technique UK research body Thatcham has used for its whiplash ratings for the past two years.

Every year, 250,000 cases of whiplash are diagnosed following car accidents in the UK, with 10% of victims suffering long-term symptoms. Payouts for these injuries total £1 billion each year and account for roughly £40 of every insurance policy.

Thatcham reckons head restraint design has improved since it launched its rating, yet only 22% of the cars it tested were rated as 'good'.

Euro NCAP will also eventually grade cars on how well they are able to avoid collisions in the first place, with ratings for active safety systems such as active headlights and stability control.

The organisation recently said that every new car should be equipped or specified with stability control to help prevent accidents.

There's no indication that Euro NCAP will reverse its decision to scrap a planned move to one overall rating incorporating pedestrian and occupant results. Many cars continue to perform very poorly in pedestrian ratings, so they would see less impressive overall results as a consequence.

Visit www.thatcham.org to find out more about its whiplash testing programme. Follow this link, or look in our advice section, and you'll lots of tips on how to prevent or minimise whiplash injuries.




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