Lawmakers advocate for new model of female crash test dummies
Did you know that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, women are statistically more likely to be injured or killed in vehicle collisions than men? Women are also more likely to suffer neck and abdominal injuries in crashes. Researchers have faced an obstacle in finding ways to make vehicles safer for women, because crash test dummies are historically based on male, not female, bodies. This makes it more difficult to simulate how collisions impact women’s bodies.
Researchers in Sweden got to work finding a solution. The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute developed a crash test dummy that is based on the average female body. The female crash test dummy crucially has a height of 5’3” and is designed to mimic how a female body’s muscle groups and anatomy will react during impact. “We have differences in the shape of the torso and the center of gravity and the outline of our hips and pelvis,” Swedish researcher Astrid Linder told the BBC.
Recently in the United States, elected officials from both the Republican and Democratic parties have advocated for increased funding for more advanced female crash test dummies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted in September 2022 that they are currently evaluating the THOR5-F model. Eventually, vehicle companies may be required to perform and pass crash tests using these dummies. Cars have gotten significantly safer over the last several decades. The more information and research we have, the better engineers can design cars for bodies of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. But the risk of driving and riding in a car is inescapable. In careless hands, a car becomes a deadly instrument. This is why it’s so important to follow traffic laws, wear seat belts, and pay attention to the road. Stay safe out there, everyone!