Studies carried out by insurance research centre Thatcham found the problem could be causing injuries to more than 125,000 drivers and passengers in the UK every year.
Matthew Avery, crash lab manager at Thatcham, said: ‘The manufacturers are doing their bit – now the public have got to wake up to whiplash. The head restraint is every bit as important as the seatbelt – yet drivers seem oblivious as to how to use it properly.’
A survey of 1,400 drivers and their vehicles found that only 25% of men and 43% of women had their head restraint in the correct position.
Mr Avery said the top of the head restraints should be level with or above the top of the head – and as close to the back of the head as possible.
Insurance companies pay out millions of pounds each year to drivers for whiplash injuries, the cost of which is inevitably borne by fleets on their premiums.