The Hans Device

Head and Neck Support

        At Michigan State University, Robert Hubbard, PhD created the Hans. Hans stands for head and neck support. The purpose of the HANS Device is to restrain the head, neck and shoulders of a driver during a crash. It was developed to prevent injuries caused by sudden and violent movement. It includes a helmet, collar, and shoulder support system.

The Hans uses a mechanism that connects a helmet to a shoulder restraint made of carbon fiber and Kevlar. The helmet is connected to the shoulder restraint by tethers. The Hans device is a U-shaped collar that fits around the driver's neck and extends down onto the chest. It restricts the driverís movements, keeping their head and shoulders aligned, yet it still allows the driver to move their head naturally.

After only a small amount of use, most drivers forget they even have it on. Following long amounts of testing, the device went on sale in 1991. Today, there are over 600 devices in use.

The device is now mandatory in all NASCAR races.

Technical Description

        -Designed to not allow any debris to puncturre it
        -Designed to disperse impact energy over thee entire helmet in a crash
        -Covers the driverís entire head, mouth and chin
        -Made up of three main parts:

        -Outer shell: custom made hard plastic
        -BeadALL liner: foam layer in the crown
        of the helmet

        -Inner liner, padding and hardware: made
>         of fire resistant nylon


Shoulder Restraint
        -Weighs about 1.5 pounds
        -Has three main parts:

        -Collar: semi-hard made of carbon
        fiber and Kevlar

        -Harness: keeps it in place on the
        drivers upper body, and attaches
        the collar to the helmet

        -Tethers: two flexible tethers
        are attached to the helmet to keep
        the head from snapping back


        In 2001, six Nascar drivers tested out the new device for the first time at the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt was not one of them, and on that day he died of the very thing that the HANS protects against.

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