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Published on Apr 10, 2012 by Edgar Snyder

Female Crash Test Dummies Provide New Safety Information

female crash test dummies

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) didn't begin to make wide use of female crash test dummies until 2003. Since then, increased use of female test dummies has shown that women can be injured very differently in car accidents than men because of their smaller bones, lower bone density, less muscular necks, and different general shape.

While most of the NHTSA's safety tests still use male crash dummies, a female one is used in the test situation for a side crash. This is because while other types of crashes have similar results for male and female drivers, side crashes show a higher injury vulnerability in female drivers for current car models. Because of a lower average height, for instance, female drivers tend to position their seats further forward, which costs them some protection in the event of an accident. This information has led to improvements in the design of cars and safety features to offer more protection to female drivers and passengers.

Women are at greater risk than men of suffering injury or deaths in car accidents since smaller people cannot tolerate crash forces as well as full-sized men. Still, officials say that female consumers should not be concerned that safety tests don't accurately represent them. Instead, they say to buy the vehicle that is most crash-worthy overall, as it will give the best protection to both genders.

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“Female Crash Dummies Injured More: What Car Should Women Buy?” ABC News. March 29, 2012.
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