Previous research has found that women are far more likely to be injured or killed in car accidents than men and now a new study suggests that the size and weight of crash test dummies used could be the problem. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average American woman weighs 170.5 pounds and is almost four inches taller than the dummies being used.
In the past, seat belts were blamed because they weren’t designed with women in mind and this new research from the University of Virginia suggests that’s still true, but that the crash test dummies used in vehicle safety tests are also at fault. And that’s because they’re not designed to represent the size of most real women either.
According to the new study, “the odds of serious injury or death for female car-crash victims is 73% higher than for males,” which might have something to do with the fact that “average male” type dummies are most often used in the important safety testing. The “woman-type” dummy wasn’t introduced until 2003, and it was and still is, only five feet tall and weighs 110 pounds, and that’s not the size of your average woman.
- Researcher Jason Forman says, “We obviously know a lot of ways that men and women are different bio-mechanically,” and that these differences could change the way seat belts interact with the body. But he says taking this information and applying it to real-life safety measures “just simply has not been done yet.” So if car manufacturers could start using the accurate info and keep us safer, we’d really appreciate it.