Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers: Crash Test Dummies Get a New LookMay 16, 2017
Crash test dummies play an extremely important role in testing the safety features of cars and trucks. However, in order to obtain the most accurate idea of whether or not the safety feature is effective, it is necessary to use a crash test dummy that reflects the average consumer. According to a report conducted by the University of Michigan International Center for Automotive Medicine (ICAM), the average consumer has grown older and heavier over the years, so trauma experts have created crash test dummies that reflect a changing population.
The traditional crash test dummy weighed close to 160 pounds, which reflected the weight of the average driver at the time. Engineers at Humanentics, a manufacturing company, created a 273-pound crash test dummy, which is over 100 pounds heavier than the original. As the average driver has also grown older, the company created a dummy that reflects the physicality of a 70-year-old obese woman to better mimic injuries a typical passenger may sustain in a wreck.
According to the director of the U-M ICAM, there was a significant discrepancy between the physical characteristics of actual motorists and the crash test models. This discrepancy prompted the idea for the new crash test models. The report also referenced a study from UC Berkeley, which found that obese drivers are over 75 percent more likely to be fatally injured in a car accident than drivers who are within a normal weight range.
Risk Factors for Obese Drivers
If a seat belt cannot properly restrain a passenger, he or she is much more likely to suffer serious, possibly fatal injuries. When a car accident occurs, obese drivers often slide under the seat belt because their lower bodies are not properly restrained due to the extra slack on the belt. As a result, the injuries tend to be more severe and the extra weight, as well as other conditions associated with obesity, make treating and recovering from the injuries much more difficult.
The researchers at ICAM reviewed thousands of CT scans, which they used as a guide when creating the updated crash test dummies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone who has a body-mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher is considered obese. Using this information, the ICAM team created an obese crash test dummy with a BMI of 35. They also created an elderly dummy with a BMI of 29, and one which also reflected the typical body changes of an elderly individual, including a sagging chest and torso. When you compare the changes in chest structure of a 20-year-old to that of an 80-year-old, the risk of chest injury in a car accident increases dramatically as a person ages.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Crash Victims
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and you feel that the seatbelt did not keep you properly restrained because of your body type, you may be eligible for compensation. Today’s vehicles should protect all drivers regardless of size or age, and if they fail to do so, the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will provide the experienced legal representation you need to obtain the maximum financial compensation you deserve. Our dedicated team will protect your rights every step of the way. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent victims of car accidents in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.