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Are crash test dummies failing women?

We have all seen the videos of vehicles hurtling towards a wall during a crash test and watched the crash test dummies jolt forward and hit the airbags. These videos are jarring, but they also give us some level of comfort. After all, the videos show auto manufacturers taking precautions to ensure that drivers and passengers alike are safe in their vehicles.

However, a study from the University of Virginia indicates that those crash test dummies may not be helping to protect female drivers or passengers.

Women are more likely to sustain serious injuries in a car crash

The study reports that women face a higher risk of severe injuries or death in a car accident than men, at a rate of nearly 73%. In a front-end crash, women were more likely than men to suffer life-changing injuries to their:

  • Legs
  • Spine
  • Abdomen

Even when women wore a seat belt, they still had a higher chance of suffering an injury. Despite the clear evidence, the study has yet to determine why this gap in safety exists between the genders. However, some groups think it might relate to crash test dummies. 

Are crash test dummies to blame?

The study hypothesizes several possible reasons why women suffer more serious injuries, including the different physiques of men and women or even the model of the car.

But one hypothesis stands out among all of the rest. One of the principal scientists in the study states that the use of crash test dummies could have a significant effect on the reason women are less safe in accidents. According to CityLab and Business Insider, crash test dummies could be a significant cause of this risk for three primary reasons:

  1. Manufacturers used primarily male crash test dummies for the last few decades;
  2. The introduction of female crash test dummies was only in 2003;
  3. Manufacturers only use one kind of female crash test dummy, which has a height of 5 feet and a weight of 110 pounds.

Regardless of the cause, women should take safety seriously

Knowing about the disparity between men and women's safety in car accidents is the first step to staying safe. And hopefully, auto manufacturers will revisit their use of female crash test dummies, if that is a significant reason for this risk. 

But it is always important that everyone drives safe on Pennsylvania roads. And the findings of this study should make both women and men take extra precautions on the road to close the safety gap between them.

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