Driver back pain costing the country billions

Uncomfortable car seats

Are you sitting comfortably? Not if new research into back pain caused by uncomfortable car seats is anything to go by.

More than a third of UK drivers have taken at least one day off work every year for back pain. The cost to the economy is a staggering £8.8 billion in productivity.

The survey of 2,000 drivers who use a car for work purposes shines a light on our inability to sit comfortably behind the wheel. Back pain affects 80 percent of the population and is a leading cause for sick leave in the UK.

Of the 32.4 million people employed in the UK, more than two-thirds use their car to drive to work or for work purposes.

Of these, 12 percent have taken two days off for back pain, while 13 percent have been off for four days. Five percent were absent for a full working week, and 5 percent asked for seven or more days of rest.

According to Volvo Car UK, the company behind the research, seat comfort is a top priority for 63 percent of UK drivers. Around a fifth of drivers have actually swapped a car for a model with more comfortable seats.

‘Comfortable and pain-free’

Driver back pain

Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK’s managing director, said: “Back pain from poor quality car seats is a bigger problem than many think.

“Not only is it costing the UK economy billions in lost productivity as employees take sick leave, but poor quality car seats are also placing an unnecessary burden on the NHS, costing hospitals and GP surgeries hundreds of millions a year.

Volvo is committed to ensuring that all of its customers, regardless of shape or size, find the seats in their car incredibly comfortable and pain-free.” 

Tommy Apell, senior attribute leader for seat comfort at Volvo, added: “At Volvo, we specifically opt to use softer foam compounds for our seats to ensure the fit is comfortable across all body shapes and sizes.

“We also specially tune our seat springs for improved comfort, with the ergonomics team working alongside designers to ensure things like seat stitching don’t create pressure points for drivers and passengers. Our lengthy development and testing programme means new seats take up to five years to move from concept to finished product.”