Many older pickup trucks lack a head rest or head restraint. If an occupant is in collision or wreck and especially a rear end collision, then the lack of such safety device can have devastating results. While most of us take for granted the headrest in the vehicles of the 1990’s and 2000’s, most would be surprised to learn that many vehicles, especially pickup trucks lacked this essential safety feature until the late 1980’s.

In fact, head restraints research goes back to the 1920’s in which research by the UP.SO. Navy concluded that head restraints reduced head injuries caused by whiplash type movements from sudden acceleration of the head. Later, in the 1960’s General Motors and other manufacturers tested and concluded that head restraints were effective in restricting rearward head movement and hyperextension. This was accomplished by a head restraint or a high back seat; both proved effective in the reduction of injuries. In fact today, all passenger vehicles and trucks are required by FMVSS 202 to have head restraints.

Pickup Truck (light trucks) though were not required to have head restraints, in fact the auto manufacturers fought to have them required, stating that there was not enough research to justify the requirements of head restraints to trucks. There arguments were unfounded and flawed with inconsistencies. In fact, GM sold optional high back seats in its full sized 1978 Chevy and GMC pickup trucks, although unlike in its passenger car catalog, the head restraint in a light truck was not described or identified as a safety feature. In fact, the truck manufacturers argued that the rear window of the truck could serve as a head restraint! When will greed ever end!

Crash tests clearly showed that many times the driver and passenger dummies head contacted not only the glass, but also the metal glass retaining header above the rear window causing catastrophic head and neck injuries. However, the truck manufacturers resisted such restraints as standard equipment still arguing that safety studies were inconclusive, though many foreign manufacturers equipped their trucks with these restraints for years before. Finally, after strong public demand, most various, light truck manufacturers made head restraint standard equipment. The strong demand came shortly after a Wall Street Journal article hit the streets, and brought the dangers of no head restraints public.

Head Restraint Requirement- Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard # 202

Finally, in September 19, 1989, FMVSS #202 required head restraints in light trucks and multi-purpose passengers vehicles was enacted, and became effective on September 1,1991. Unfortunately FMVSS # 202 came about 15 years too late for many thousands of persons seriously injured in rear impacts in light trucks. If only the Auto & Truck manufacturing had truly considered safety the number one issue and not how to save $20-$30.00 per vehicle, then thousands of persons would not had to have needlessly been left paralyzed, brain damaged or dead as a result of the lack of this essential safety feature.

Defective Headrest or Head Restraint System Lawsuits

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