The government, private organizations and vehicle manufacturers constantly test vehicles to assess safety. These tests help to put regulations in place, introduce new laws and create new safety features or make adjustments to make vehicles safer. The longstanding way to test is by using crash test dummies. These dummies act in place of real people and go through crash simulations that allow studies of how the crash affected them.
These crash test dummies do a good job, but Forbes explains new research shows the dummies may be only telling one side of the story. There is reason to believe that dummies tend to show results for men over women, which could leave women vulnerable in a real accident situation.
Made as men
Crash test dummies used in U.S. tests all come from a basic design that is based on a male body. It has the proportions and other characteristics of a man that are much different from those of a woman. Even the dummies that represent women are still based on the original design of a man. They are basically just smaller versions of the male dummy, which is not an accurate portrayal of a woman’s body.
So, crash tests using these dummies often help to create designs and regulations suited to men and smaller men without considering the impact of a crash on a real woman’s body. This also may account for the reason why women are more likely to die in a car crash than men.
There are additional issues with the dummies since the design has not seen an update since the 1970s. People today tend to weigh more and do not fit the measurements of that time. This only brings to light how outdated the system is. It may be time for a redesign to help create more accurate dummies that conform to today’s body types and that can help save more lives.