Whiplash injury usually occurs with rear-end impacts. The neck is forced into flexion and
then into extension. The sudden movements take place in a matter of seconds. Many studies
have been done using live subjects, crash dummies, and computer simulation to define the
steps of events that occur with whiplash injury.
The results are not very clear. Studies in the U.S., Canada, and Australia have shown
both results: increased cases of chronic neck and back pain with and without the use of
The main conclusion is that seat belts save many lives each year. The life-saving ability
of seatbelts far outweighs the risk of increased injury during a rear-end collision. The
bottom line is: you should always wear your seatbelt.