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Cadillac Recalls XTS for Head Restraint Problems

Reflections and that new car smell

Rear head rests reflected in the rear view mirror (Photo credit: jessicafm)

Over 12,000 2013 Cadillacs are being recalled for failing to comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requirements. The head restraint apparently doesn’t meet standards and could be dangerous enough to cause an injury in the event of a car accident. The issue only pertains to the rear seats.

According to the NHTSA, XTS models built between October 12, 2011 and August 30, 2012 aren’t up to par with federal safety standard number 202. The rule states that head restraints are required to reduce injuries in the event of a rear-end collision. The Cadillac XTS rear head restraints “…may not lock into the upright position after being folded forward…” according to the official press release from the NHTSA. In additon, if the head rest is in a lower position and falls forward then it may not be able to lock back in the upright position as per federal requirements.

Head rests are built in vehicles less for the comfort value and more for safety. The rests, or restraints, are crucial in reducing injuries to the neck like whiplash. They are mandatory in car production ever since the 1960s. They were first invented in 1921, but their safety value wasn’t immediately understood. Testing shows that head rests can reduce injury by 10 to 17 percent, if they are properly positioned with the passenger’s head.

The range in the efficacy of head rests is mainly do the adjustable rests, which may not be at the optimum position for the size of the passenger. Unmovable rests have a higher rate of reduced injury. Ideally, head rests don’t allow the neck to fall back by more than a 45 degree angle.

To comply with the NHTSA, Cadillac issued the recall and will be replacing the faulty head rests in cars already purchased. Those consumers will be notified if the Cadillac they drive is under the effect of the recall. They can then bring in the car for the free replacement. Dealerships will immediately begin replacing the head rests. The recall officially began November 12.

At the moment, there are no injuries reported as a result of the problem with head restraints. If you have been injured, report the problem to Cadillac or the NHTSA. Speak to an accident attorney about your claim to see if you have a valid case. Visit the Accident Attorneys’ Group for more information.

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