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Automatically Applying The Brakes To Whiplash Injury

Man holding neck after accident
14th May 2014

The day may soon be here when in-car technology completely replaces human control of driving vehicles because their judgement can no longer be relied upon to prevent accidents, such as whiplash injury.

A number of on-board systems, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) have long been available and are, increasingly, fitted as standard.

Slow reaction

whiplash compensation cases.

Often the truth is that many drivers are unlikely to be involved in more than one or possibly two serious incidents with another vehicle in their driving lifetime. They are simply not used to reacting fast enough or appropriately, and apart from a sideways or rear shunt collision, are unable to stop their vehicle from making contact with the vehicle in front suddenly and unexpectedly braking.

Whatever the reason, extreme rapid jerking of the neck, forcing the head and shoulders forward and back is likely to cause damage to the soft tissues, muscle, bone, nerves or blood supply - all latent symptoms of whiplash injury.

Technology solutions

It has always been recommended to ensure correct adjustment of the head rest, which is fully shaped to properly restrain the head and neck every time a journey is made. Too often, the advice is simply ignored and it has been left to the car makers to increase vehicle safety by developing technology solutions to help the driver avoid sudden front-end collisions or reduce the severity of impact.

Autonomous Emergency Braking

The systems are categorised under a system known as AEB or Autonomous Emergency Braking:

Autonomous – means that the system acts independently of the driver to avoid or minimise impact.
Emergency – indicates that the system will only intervene in a critical situation.
Braking - describes the method of applying the brakes, by which, the system tries to avoid the accident.

Most AEB systems use remote-sensing technology to identify potential obstacles ahead of a vehicle. The information is combined with on-board travel speed and positioning data to detect a potential collision risk.

The driver is initially alerted to action needed to avoid an impact. If no action is taken and a collision is still expected, the system will then apply either a more forceful or full braking force to reduce a speed that would cause a collision. Some systems, which detect the driver is taking sufficient preventative action will immediately disengage.

In-car sensors

Under new government legislation being proposed to verify genuine whiplash claimants, the accurate recording of events, such as travelling speed, acceleration and “other contributory factors” leading up to and during a vehicle collision will be collected by the use of in-car sensor technology.