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TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday said it has developed a new safety device called the "active headrest" that is designed to reduce the stress on the neck during low-speed rear crashes. The new headrest will debut shortly on new Toyotas, the company said.

The news comes on the heels of a caustic insurance industry analysis released on Tuesday in the U.S. that castigates most automakers for falling short in rear-crash tests. The tundra was the lone pickup in the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests that received a "good" rating for seat/head restraint protection.

Toyota apparently intends to raise the bar even further with the active headrest.

It said the headrest will reduce the risk of whiplash injuries during rear crashes. The lower unit built into the seat back "recognizes" when the occupant's lower back presses against it. It then triggers the upper unit to activate the head restraint. The restraint moves forward diagonally, 30mm up and 25mm forward, to "catch" the back of the head. Toyota said in-house testing of the active headrest shows it reduced the severity of whiplash by 10-20 percent versus its Whiplash Injury Lessening concept seat.

What this means to you: Neck injuries are the most common reported in auto crashes and Toyota intends to do something about them.

IIRC, sabbs and volvos already had this, right?
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