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Women Aren’t Being Represented in Typical Crash Tests


Whenever there is news of the crashworthiness of a vehicle, inside of the vehicle, you often see those (sometimes yellow) looking fake people—mannequins, or dummies. But although they look like listless, stuffed or plastic shaped humans, the way a department store may use for a display, those dummies are actually very technically advanced. And according to some experts, they are also woefully out of date.

Crash Test Dummies

Dummies used in crashes to test impact to the human body are highly advanced pieces of technology that have to do two, seemingly opposing things.

On the one hand, they need to have computers in them—they are measuring forces placed upon the dummy, and reporting the impact of a crash to the observers or experts that track the data. That means that the entire body has to be lined with sensors that can record and transmit the impact on the dummy.

But the dummy can’t just be a hunk of computer chips. It needs to move like a person, be soft where a person is soft, have weight where a person has weight; to make the data it transmits accurate, it needs to physiologically mimic a human, as much as possible.

What About Female Form Dummies?

Although today’s dummies are much more advanced than those used in the past, new ones take years to make, and that means that the ones being used currently, are starting to show their age. Specifically, when it comes to using them to test the forces of an accident on women.

Almost every dummy has the same general form—and that form is modeled more on the frame and shape of a male. As a result, women are not represented by the dummies, and statistics reflect that women are more likely to be injured in crashes than men are.

The Female Dummies Currently in Use

There are some dummies that do take into account the uniqueness of the female body. But most of those are modeled off of very small women (about 5 feet tall and about 100 pounds).

That’s because researchers often thought that if a small woman won’t be injured, a larger woman won’t be injured, so why have dummies modeled after larger framed women? Additionally, smaller models or dummies allow researchers to study crash effects on children and women, at the same time, using the same dummy.

It Will Take Time

Although new crash test dummies are being developed to represent more body shapes and sizes, when they will be ready, and whether researchers will pay for them, remains to be seen.

Additionally, even when a new dummy is created, nobody knows if it is accurate until the crash test statistics are compared with real world accident and injury statistics, meaning it could be many years before the female form gets accurate representation in crash tests.

Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today for a free consultation if you have been injured in any kind of car accident.


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