Isaac Head and Neck Restraint System


SFI Specification 38.1

When you add it all up, Isaac® systems are the #1 performing head and neck restraint. Some details are here.

However, Isaac® systems are not "SFI certified". Why? Because SFI Specification 38.1 contains a section that excludes only the Isaac® system. Specifically, section 2.5 states:

Adjustment and release mechanism(s) shall be accessible to both the user and to external personnel such that no additional motion is required, other than the release of the seat belts, to disengage the Head and Neck Restraint System during emergency situations.

Because the Isaac® design keeps the belts on the shoulders and reduces lateral head torque by connecting the helmet to the shoulder belts, it does not comply with this section of SFI Spec 38.1.

Please note the inconsistency in SFI's own specifications: The reason given for section 2.5 is that the driver should not be allowed a total of three disconnects, yet SFI Spec 16.1 allows three disconnects for the harness only, and there are no provisions anywhere in SFI specifications for other items connected to the helmet such as radios, drink tubes, forced air tubes, etc.

"Why not change the design to comply with 38.1?"

Because an SFI version does not work as well. That would be like a racer saying, "Gee, my car is too fast. I should slow it down so it will be like the others."

We could build a version that would comply, but testing has shown its performance would be as limited as current SFI designs. In fact, the history of SFI-compliant head and neck restraints is fraught with instances of the product either not helping in the event of a safety problem, or causing a safety problem.

Trapping drivers in cars

  1. "Michael is a big guy, about 6'-5", and sometimes the HANS® device hangs up on things." - Dr. Jerry Punch, on NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip's attempts to exit his burning Cup car, 2 September 2007.
  2. "There was fuel running down my back and into the roof of the car, and oil and stuff. The corner workers were yelling to get out of the car because it was going to catch fire, and I couldn't get out because my HANS device was stuck in the window net, and the window was smaller than normal.

    "I went back in and tried to get my helmet off and then they called me back out again, and then they finally got me out with my HANS and everything on." - Joey Hand, Grand Am Cup driver, Mid-Ohio 2006.

  3. ...when I was getting out of the car a corner of my HANS® device snagged on the net. The only thing that released me was that the net melted and broke.- Jeff Altenburg, Speed World Challenge driver discussing exiting his burning car in Puerto Rico, 2003.
  4. A stunned Brad Jones was trapped in the stricken car for several minutes. Rescue teams rushed to his aid as petrol poured out of the battered car. "You are just stuck in there," he said. "You feel absolutely helpless. You can't get out and I felt that if it burst into flames I just would have died." Jones said the compulsory Head And Neck Support (HANS®) safety device, a neck brace that limits the movement of a driver's head, had made it difficult for him to escape the car. "I unbolted myself and undid everything and I was standing on the door, but with the HANS® device you can't reach up to get out," he said. "It is a very claustrophobic thing and you can see liquid (petrol) coming out all over the place. I shut the engine down straight away, but of course everything is still pretty hot. I had to wait for someone to come and open the door for me." - Brad Jones, V8 Supercar driver, New Zealand, 2005
  5. ...the flames generally stayed away from the cockpit. Labonte unhooked his HANS® device, which protects drivers from neck injuries, and scrambled out of the car. His exit wasn't stylish — he stumbled backward, then fell over, and finally slammed his fist on the ground — but out is out when a car's on fire. - Bobby Labonte, NASCAR Cup driver, Chicago, 2003.
  6. "I was unbuckled and starting to come out, but my HANS® device, when I was trying to get out, kept getting stuck in the grass so I had to have them help me take that off." (Was your helmet on the ground?): "No it wasn't on the ground at all. The roll hoop bent a little bit but it was fully intact, but it was good as far as that goes." - Sam Hornish, Jr., IRL driver, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2005.
  7. "Emergency egress is a problem for my car also. We are changing the door bar configuration. As it is now I can't get out drivers window with the HANS on." - Bill Lynes, Savannah, GA, 2006.

Every time a head and neck restraint has trapped a driver in a car it has been an SFI-type design--not sometime, not most of the time, every time. This danger is avoided with the Isaac® system because it is disconnected and left in the car every time the driver exits, so it becomes second nature.

Deaths by head injury: Dr. Adam Zimmerman, Lime Rock Park, Connecticut, 24 September 2005

Broken necks

1. "McQueen had suffered a broken lower left leg, two fractures to his cervical vertebrae and multiple rib fractures. He was put into a halo device to steady his neck." - Chad McQueen, Grand Am driver, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida, 2006.

(Note: One of Chad McQueen's doctors races. He is an Isaac® user who has crashed at 90 mph with no head or neck pain.)

2. "Young sprint car driver Danny Horner sustained a broken neck in Friday's WoO event at USA Race Park. He is expected to make a complete recovery despite his injuries." - Carlyle (PA) Sentinel, March 8, 2007.

Loss of shoulder belts: Too numerous to catalog. Ask any F1 driver or sprint car driver.

(HANS® is a registered trademark of Hubbard/Downing, Inc.)


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