Head and Neck Restraints
Head and neck restraints are now used and trusted by major motor sport organisations worldwide. They have been mandatory in Australian Sprintcar competition since 2004 and are now mandatory for AA, A Open Wheeled and (SSA) Super Sedans license categories, excluding AMCA (from the 1st of July 2008).
Only FIA (approved by the Federation lnternationale de l’Automobile) and SFI 38.1 (approved by the SFI Foundation) head and neck restraints will be allowed in line with the Speedway Safety Advisory Committee (SSAC) recommendations ratified by the Speedway Australia Board.
As of September 1st 2015 the following devices are SFI approved (in no particular order):
- HANS Performance Products - HANS Device (All Series)
- Leatt Brace - MRX
- Safety Solutions R3 (Range)
- Simpson Hybrid Pro (Range)
- Simpson Sport (Range)
- Impact Rev
- Impact Accel
Please note that there are products from other manufacturers such as DefNder, and Leatt Brace that were previously certified and labelled as meeting SFI 38.1. They are not currently listed on the SFI website because they are no longer in new production. However, any devices still in the field or at retail outlets that have SFI 38.1 stickers on them were properly tested and certified at the time. The certifications for those devices remain valid.
Be alert and make sure you purchase either a FIA or SFI 38.1 approved head and neck restraint.
- A horse collar is optional when wearing an approved head and neck restraint device.
- It is highly recommended that all other categories wear a head and neck restraint device.
- It is strongly recommended that all Junior drivers wear a head and neck restraint device.
- A head and neck restraint device cannot be used with an AS1698 helmet.
All SFI Rated Head and Neck Restraints (FHR) must be recertified every 5 years as per SFI’s recommendation and the following contacts can help with this process
The SFI Foundation offers speedway drivers, through its partnership with Speedway Australia, comprehensively tested global standards. The SFI Foundation operates a laboratory dedicated to the evaluation of safety products and has an extensive list of tested and approved racing apparel and equipment.
Speedway Australia has identified, in consultation with QBE International (our Public Liability Insurers) and QBE Mercantile Mutual, that since head and neck restraints became mandatory for Sprintcars and highly recommended in other classes, the number of head and neck injuries has fallen by 48% over all Speedway Australia sanctioned speedway divisions from October 2004 to June 2006.
Head and neck restraint devices assist in preventing injuries by limiting extreme head motion and neck loads. They are not designed to assist in preventing thoracic and lumbar back injuries.
The various factors that should be considered when purchasing a head and neck restraint device include, but are not limited to: comfort, the type of helmet needed with each particular device, the specific fastenings needed on specific helmets, the need to drill helmets & associated problems, the use of tethers, life expectancy of each device, device replacement after crash impact, custom fitment, distributor support, ease of use, personal preference, individual body type, race-car type and cost.
Speedway Australia highly recommends that all speedway competitors wear a head and neck restraint device and STRONGLY recommended that all junior drivers wear a head and neck restraint device.
Purchase and use of a head and neck restraint is an important and necessary decision, which can only be made by the user after careful consideration of their individual circumstances.
Speedway Australia will officially advise when further devices pass SFI product tests.
For more information visit the SFI Foundation web site www.sfifoundation.com or visit your local safety apparel retail outlet and ask if your head and neck restraint is SFI approved.