Officials Want Safety Programs To Include Female Crash Test Dummies
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Vehicles have become safer with each new model and feature introduced, but car crashes still happen frequently. There’s especially unsettling data on the severity of injuries that women sustain versus men.
Chris O’Connor, CEO of Humanetics Group, a Michigan-based crash test dummy manufacturing company, believes NHTSA should test new cars for both men and women. U.S. Senator Gary Peters is calling for more female crash test dummies to be used in safety programs. Here are more details about what’s behind the push for female crash test dummies in the driver’s seat. Manufacturers put car models through rigorous safety testing before they’re produced
Why are women more likely to be injured in crashes?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) investigated why women are more likely to be injured even though men get into more crashes.
According to Car and Driver, IIHS looked at front and side crashes that occurred between 1998 and 2015. They found that women were twice as likely to suffer a severe injury as men, and it’s not due to physiological differences.
Women are more likely to be injured in a crash mainly because of two factors: the types of crashes and vehicle size. Women tend to drive smaller, lighter cars. These cars don’t offer as much protection as larger vehicles and trucks which men are more likely to drive.
Men are also more likely to be the striking vehicle rather than the one being struck which lowers the risk of injury. This and other similar research has led U.S. lawmakers to further examine vehicle safety testing practices.
Peters and Senator Deb Fischer introduced the Furthering Advanced and Inclusive Research for Crash Tests Act (FAIR Crash Tests Act) to study federal vehicle safety tests.
Current safety tests need to be improved
Peters said that “The current federal vehicle safety tests are simply outdated and need to be modernized,” according to Radio Results Network.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a federal agency that rates vehicle safety based on a 5-star scale. This safety rating program uses things like dummies and internal sensors to measure potential impact during crashes while driving different vehicles.
The data is used to determine if a vehicle meets minimum safety requirements and is allowed to continue production. However, NHTSA does not place women in the driver’s seat for many crash tests. In 2018, 61% of women killed in a car crash were in the driver’s seat.
What safety features should you look for in a vehicle?
Manufacturers are constantly working on improving safety features in their cars. Some of the best features to look for are automatic emergency braking, lane assist, and other alerts that keep your attention on the road. Improvements are being made to airbag deployment and side-impact protection to reduce the risk of injuries.
The FAIR Crash Tests Act would order the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the NHTSA’s safety rating program further. This will ensure that the program is continually being improved.
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