Car accidents are an unfortunate part of our lives, as millions of people around the world rely on motor vehicles for daily transportation. In 2021, 46,980 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Furthermore, medically consulted injuries in motor vehicle accidents totaled to be about 5.4 million. The number of deaths and injuries in the U.S. is a concern.
However, another recent fact brings unease: research and developments have highlighted an alarming fact that women and children may be more prone to injury in car accidents compared to men.
Crash Dummies Are Not Up to Date
Traditional crash dummies, which are used to test vehicle safety, have historically been modeled on the average male body since the 1970s. On occasions, researchers may utilize a smaller dummy to represent a woman. However, this smaller dummy is about the size of a 12-year-old girl. Consequently, there are inherent discrepancies when assessing the safety of women and children. According to a recent NPR report, host Mary Louise Kelly interviews Astrid Linder, the leader of the Swedish engineering team working to improve this situation.
The outdated crash dummy designs could lead to inaccurate safety assessments, as they do not account for the differences in body mass distribution, bone density, and musculature between the sexes. Some new advancements to update crash dummy designs have begun, but they have not yet been widely implemented. This leaves women and children at a disadvantage when it comes to car accident safety.
Key Differences Between Men & Women in Vehicle Accidents
Men and women have many physical differences varying from height to weight. However, there are also differences in joint stiffness and muscle strength. These differences have been taken into account in the development of current models for car safety. Specifically, models have been developed to withstand low-severity rear impacts, with a strong focus on the appearance of the torso.
As a result, geometrical differences between males and females have been considered. Females tend to have lower muscle mass and total strength, which translates to lower joint stiffness.
These differences mean that women and children may be at greater risk of injury in a car accident if the vehicle's safety has not been thoroughly tested to account for their unique needs and body compositions. Improving this situation will require comprehensive updates to crash test evaluations and vehicle designs.
Swedish Engineers Working Toward Change
Recognizing the disparities in vehicle safety outcomes for women and children, Swedish engineers are making strides to better protect everyone on the road. By utilizing both male and female dummies, they have discovered interesting findings about how car crashes can affect different people.
For example, they tested different seats and found that the male and female dummies performed differently in each one. Some seats were more robust than others, and this could make a big difference in terms of safety. Specifically, when looking at the neck, it's important to keep the head and torso as aligned as possible during a rear impact, something that can be affected by how the body interacts with the seat back.
According to Linder, the next step towards safer cars is to require the use of both male and female dummies. Currently, the regulation states that only male dummies should be used. This change would allow for a more accurate representation of how people can be injured in car accidents and improve safety measures for many.
Contact Our Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one is dealing with the aftermath of a collision, you deserve an experienced legal team on your side. At Potter Burnett Law, our motor vehicle accident attorneys are dedicated to helping you pursue the compensation you need to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident. With our assistance, you can focus on your recovery, knowing that we’re pursuing the damages you’re entitled to.
Don’t hesitate to contact us about your case. Call us at (301) 820-7820 or fill out our form online.