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Finally! Proper Female Crash Test Dummies

Currently, female crash test dummies don’t participate in the test at all or, if they do, they are based on outdated 1970s presumptions.

Crash test dummies
Humanetics is working to correct gender disparities in vehicle safety | Humanetics

According to a recent study published in Frontiers in Public Health, car safety research and innovations are in urgent need of being updated. Although male drivers typically sustain more injuries than women in car accidents, women’s injuries tend to be more severe - and this could well be because of gender disparity in safety tests.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the standard model for a male crash test dummy is 5’9” and weighs 170 pounds. Two female crash test dummies are currently used and are 4’11” and weigh between 97 and 108 pounds. These, it turns out, are based on the 1970s model that today only represents 5 percent of women.

Furthermore, even though nearly half of drivers are women, female test dummies are often sidelined to the passenger side - or don’t participate in the test at all - drastically reducing available data on potential harm to female drivers.

The good news, however, is that pressure from multiple reports has finally jolted the NHTSA into action and it has begun taking measures to update female crash test dummies to more accurately represent the passengers (and drivers!) on the roads today.

“We’re talking about thousands of lives and serious injuries that can be saved if we employ female crash test dummies in our ratings systems with regard to crash test worthiness for cars,” says former U.S. Congresswoman Susan Molinari, who now co-chairs Verity Now, and uses her platform to advocate for vehicle safety for all.


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