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Crash Test Dummies Need More Development


Have you ever seen video footage of cars being tested for crashworthiness? Inside of those vehicles are (often, yellow) human-shaped dummies, being thrashed about in every kind of simulated accident imaginable. Well, those crash test dummies are actually not as dumb as you think—they’re actually pretty advanced pieces of technology.

High Technology

The crash test dummy is in fact a technological marvel. On the one hand, it must be highly technical, with sensors that can relay the impact and forces being put on the dummy’s body, so that researchers can study how a given car or car crash affects the human body.

But the dummy can’t be all computer; it must give and react the same way a human body would, meaning it must be soft and firm in the same places our bodies are soft and firm. It has to also be weighed just right; to see what your arm would do in a rollover accident, the dummy’s arm has to weigh, move and react the same way your arm does.

Models are Aging

A good crash test dummy takes years to make (or at least, a dummy more advanced than the previous model does).

Often, development of new models doesn’t keep up with the times. One area where that is showing is in gender; many crash test dummies we use today were developed many many years ago, when we had a more male-oriented society. As a result, today’s dummies aren’t providing the data needed to show a crash’s impact on the female body form.

Women are Left Out

If you’ve noticed, most crash test dummies follow the male form—not the female form, a fact that many say is contributing to the higher injury and death rate that women are suffering in accidents (by some accounts, women are 17% more likely to die in a car crash than men).

Additionally, many dummies were initially modeled on smaller female forms (modeling off of a hypothetical real world woman who would be about 5 feet tall and just over 100 pounds). The logic once was, if you study how a crash impacts a smaller female frame, a larger female frame will be safer, so there was no need to create a larger female body formed crash dummy.

But that is turning out to be false, and many are now calling for more varied female formed crash dummies. New female formed dummies were recently released in late 2022.

But that doesn’t mean we have the accurate crash data we need when it comes to women; even after a new crash test dummy is developed, the data provided from those dummies is compared to real world crash and injury data, to verify the accuracy of the data the dummy is providing.

Call the Clinton personal injury lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today if you were in a car accident of any kind.




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