So, you bought a car with a five-star safety rating for your family. But, is the entire family actually safe? A new study has determined that a woman has a 73% higher chance of being seriously injured or killed in a car crash than a man, and crash-test dummies are to blame.
A quick history of crash-test dummies: Dummies were first introduced in the 1950s and, unsurprisingly, were based on the average man, who is about 5’10” and 168 pounds. That average-man dummy represented the entire human population until 2003 when a female crash-test dummy was created. However, regulators did not require automakers to test vehicles with the female dummy until the 2011 model-year vehicles. (By the way, regulators have still not required a pregnant test dummy, even though one was created in 1996)
When manufacturers started to use the female dummy more regularly, they discovered that smaller female drivers and passengers suffer more head, abdominal, and pelvic injuries. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Men and women have different body structures. For instance, women generally have wider, shallower pelvises. They also have different fat distribution and tissue concentration. These differences come into play with seatbelts and other safety features.