Life-Saving Improvements to Car Safety Benefit Men More Than WomenJuly 26, 2019
Recent research conducted by the University of Virginia found both good and bad news about the risk of fatal injuries in car accidents involving men and women. While cars are undeniably safer than they were a decade ago, the changes made to improve crash safety do not benefit women as significantly as they do men. The study found females are 73 percent more likely than men to sustain fatal injuries in a motor vehicle accident. The simple reason for this disparity may surprise you.
Women are not benefitting from the safety features and updates in newer car models simply because they are not a factor in crash test protocols. Traffic safety experts and researchers have identified a lack of female-specific safety data in current crash testing analysis and demonstrations. Most crash test dummies used in collision simulations are based on dummies modeled after United States male soldiers from the 1960s.
Need for Improvements in Crash Test Dummies
Even though crash dummies are an essential part of today’s auto safety tests, their shape and body type has barely been revisited since the 1990s. Crash test dummies are much more sophisticated than their outward appearance might suggest. They replicate the delicate bone structure and anatomy of the human body, including up to 150 data points that give researchers detailed information about what happens to the body in a crash.
While there are a few female crash dummies available today, experts say they are simply smaller versions of male forms. They do not accurately represent the inherent genetic and anatomical differences between men and women. These dummies do not account for differences in fat distribution, muscle strength, and body geometry that affect how men and women respond in a collision. To put this in perspective, no test study has ever analyzed how breast tissue alters seat belt placement and its ability to safely restrain a female passenger in a collision.
Volvo Closes the Safety Gap
Swedish automaker, Volvo, hopes to close this safety gap. The car manufacturer conducted their own research and found a similar disparity in fatal injuries between men and women passengers. Based on this data, they created virtual crash test dummies to reflect every passenger and develop new safety features to protect men and women equally. They are working to share their initiative, Equal Vehicles for All, with other automakers to ensure every vehicle is as safe as possible for passengers of every age, body type, and gender.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Those Injured in All Types of Car Accidents
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