Insurance industry launches New Brunswick road safety initiative

MONCTON, NB, June 10, 2004 – Taking an extra minute to properly adjust the headrest in your vehicle can help prevent injury. That’s the message the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) wants to deliver with Rest Up! Save Your Neck, a unique community outreach initiative being rolled out by university students across New Brunswick this summer.

“Rear-end collisions account for 80% of whiplash and other soft tissue injuries in Canada,” says Don Forgeron, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. “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 hardship, and policyholders could end up saving money on their insurance premiums,” adds Forgeron.

“This campaign is designed to make Canadians aware that headrests are not just for comfort,” Mr. Forgeron continues. “Like seatbelts, they are an important safety feature that can help to prevent severe injury. Rest Up! Save Your Neck is part of a three-year national road safety program that IBC is championing.”

Exhibits staffed by 16 New Brunswick students will appear at cultural and community events in hundreds of communities throughout the province. The students will travel to each site in specially marked vans and, at each exhibit, demonstrate the best way to adjust a vehicle headrest, and distribute brochures and promotional items. “This is an awesome summer job. It’s a great opportunity to travel throughout New Brunswick helping people lead safer lives,” says Ren� Cormier, a University of Moncton student.

IBC advises that a headrest is properly adjusted when it is level with the top of the head and no more than 5 to 10 cm from the back of the head. According to a recent study conducted by IBC, only 14% of Canadian drivers had their headrests adjusted properly. “Far too many of us are running the risk of getting hurt because our headrests are not adjusted,” adds Forgeron.

Approximately $4 billion is spent annually in Canada on soft tissue injuries like whiplash resulting from motor vehicle collisions. Given that about 75% of the headrests in vehicles today are adjustable rather than fixed, soft tissue injuries are largely preventable. “Drivers and passengers can reduce the risk of whiplash simply by raising their headrests to a safe position,” says Mr. Forgeron.

IBC committed to deliver the Rest Up! Save you Neck community outreach initiative in February 2004 as part of its Five-Point action plan to bring premiums down quickly throughout New Brunswick. Since that time, IBC and the insurance industry have delivered on the four other components of the plan including: a no-frill insurance policy proposal, a promise to remove an additional 7,200 New Brunswickers out of the Facility Association, a new toll-free consumer help line and a new consumer information campaign.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents the companies that provide more than 90% of the private home, car and business insurance in Canada. To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.