Women Get Hurt More Severely Than Men In Car Accidents. But Why?
Crash test dummies are important tools in assessing the crashworthiness of vehicles, and to evaluate the safety features and ratings of the cars we drive. For the most part, they do a good job, and prove to us valuable data. But there is one inherent flaw with crash test dummies: They are largely based on the male body type.
Women Are More Likely to be Severely Injured
Starting in 2011, many scientists started to compile data, and came up with surprising conclusion: Women were much more likely to be injured in car accidents than men were (that is, more likely to actually be injured when and if an accident occurred—not more likely to get into an accident in the first place).
Recently, the gender divide got even greater; estimates now are that the risk of serious injury or a fatality is 73% higher for females than it is for males.
The data controlled for things like the age of the car, safety features, and the height or weight or size of the injured occupant.
And yet, despite that gap, researchers still don’t have a cause, or know why there is such a discrepancy.
Is it Biology?
There are, of course, biological differences between the sexes, but experts can only speculate what role those differences play in causing or minimizing the extent of an injury. Experts note that women have wider hips, and less fat in the belly area than men have, factors that could play a role. Even hormones can affect how still or pliable ligaments are, thus making them more or less vulnerable to injuries.
Crash Test Dummies are Male-Oriented
Crash test dummies that emulate the female form do exist, and have started to be used. But they tend to emulate smaller framed women. That’s often done because the theory is that smaller women may be more prone to being thrown about the car in an accident, so it’s best to test on a smaller framed woman (dummy).
It isn’t so easy just to make a crash test dummy smaller or bigger. They are scientific machines that transmit data and have to copy the human form. They can take up to 30 years of research to create. That means the dummies of today were originally developed in the 70s-80s, a time when society was much more male-oriented.
Once a new dummy is developed researchers then have to see if the data the dummy provides is accurate—that is, researchers need to tabulate data on actual car crashes and compare to the data previously provided by the dummies. That can take even more years.
The research is important. It may affect how seat belts operate, where they are positioned, and new occupant safety technologies. The dummies are even more necessary because as cars get more autonomous, drivers will no longer be sitting in one, stationary position – they could be learning or turned around, for example.
No matter who you are, we can help you if you have been injured in a car accident. Call our Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 for help.