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Gender Safety Gap in Vehicle Testing

Surprising new information reveals that although cars are safer than ever before, women face much higher risks than men of being injured or killed in car accidents. A study carried out by University of Virginia researchers documented how most vehicle safety tests use male crash test dummies. As a result, safety systems are designed to protect average males, not females.

The Study’s Statistics

The goal of the study was to learn how new safety technologies affected injury rates. They investigated injuries incurred by 31,254 occupants wearing seat belts in 22,854 head-on collisions that occurred from 1998 to 2015. They divided the results by cars that were built before and after 2009. Control factors included vehicle and occupant age, body mass index, height, and crash severity.

They found that although the probability of experiencing a fatal injury in newer vehicles was 55 percent less than in older models, women were 73 percent more likely than men to sustain serious injuries in collisions. Females were also more prone to spine, abdominal, and leg injuries.

The Dummies

Standard crash test dummies resemble an average United States soldier from the 1960s. Female test dummies came into use in the early 2000s and weigh around 108 pounds and are under five feet tall. This latter model does not accurately represent much of the female population. One critic claimed that the female dummy has more similarities to an average 12-year old child.

It has been shown that women’s bodies react differently during car crashes. A spokesperson from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explained that women do not have muscular necks, which makes them more prone to whiplash. Women also have lower bone density, putting them at a greater risk for injury or death; smaller individuals cannot withstand crash forces as well as larger males.

Consumer Reports Weighs in

A Consumer Reports writer claimed that the adult female crash test dummies in use are simply not accurate. She also said that with all the advanced auto technology that is available today, not confronting this type of inequality is simply inexcusable. She added that two Congress members pushed the NHTSA last fall to conduct additional research on crash test bias to promote women’s safety. She expressed that correcting the problem may take decades but emphasized that Consumer Reports will continue do what they can to support the cause.

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Advocate for Car Accident Victims

Even though auto manufacturers have made strides toward improving vehicle safety, accidents still occur. If you were injured in a car accident, contact the experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC. Complete our online form or call us at 215-569-8488 for a free consultation today. With offices in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients from the surrounding areas.

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