Crash dummies help car manufacturers build vehicles that protect drivers and their passengers. They also help insurance companies understand the risks and the injuries that are often associated with a car accident.
This means that the design of car crash dummies can greatly impact people’s safety. Unfortunately, dummy designs leave nearly half of the drivers in the U.S. and western Missouri unrepresented: Women.
Crash Dummy Designs are Essential
The height and weight of a car passenger or its driver can drastically alter how badly – or even whether – they get hurt in a certain type of car crash. For example, an occupant’s height is a crucial factor in the design of curtain airbags – the ones that deploy in a crash from above the side windows. Weight, meanwhile, is an essential factor for seatbelt design: It can determine the best length, tension, and even the best fabric to use.
Because a car’s safety is determined in crash simulations, and because those simulations use crash dummies, the design of those dummies – their height, weight, and their other physical characteristics – is crucial. Car manufacturers essentially cater all of their safety features to those dummies in order to get a good safety rating.
There are No Accurate Female Crash Dummies
The design for the crash dummies used in these simulations was designed and standardized in the 1970s. Dummies that represent an adult occupant are 5’9” tall and weigh 171 pounds – the average male build at the time.
Adult women, however, are 5’4” on average.
Regulators requested a female crash dummy design as early as 1980 and automakers wanted one in 1996, but it was not until 2003 that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made one. Even then, the results were half-hearted, at best. The “female” crash dummy was 4’11” (five inches too short) and 108 pounds (about 60 pounds too light).
In crash tests, these "adult female" dummies are so small that they are often used interchangeably to represent a young teenager.
Women Suffer in Car Accidents at a Higher Rate
The results are completely predictable.
One study found that women suffer serious injuries in a car accident 47% more than men do, even when they are both wearing seatbelts and the crashes were comparable. They were even more likely to suffer moderate injuries – 71% more often than men.
Even the NHTSA admits that women are more likely to die on the roads than men are. Despite the fact that men drive more miles than women do, women are 17% more likely to die on the road.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office Serve Victims in St. Joseph and Kansas City
The poor design of crash test dummies has put women in St. Joseph, Kansas City, and the rest of western Missouri at risk. The personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office strive to represent these victims in court and help them recover the compensation they deserve.
Call the Smith Law Office at (816) 875-9373 or contact them online.