Unsurprising News of the Day: Using “Female” Crash Test Dummies May Help Reduce Injuries in Females

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There are some things in this world that if we took the time to be mad at, we would be angry every day. Sometimes we just don’t have the energy for that. But hey, let’s look at some further examples of a gender-skewed world anyway: Women are on record as twice as likely as men to suffer whiplash in car accidents, and yet the majority of crash test dummies used in car safety tests are based on the average male.

Luckily for all women who prefer their necks un-lashed, there are people working to remedy that.

Anna Carlsson, a researcher for Chalmers, has designed a prototype for what is said to be the first crash test dummy in the world that represents “the average female.”
Carlsson used real women in the preliminary steps to designing the dummy; she tested live, breathing actual women in collisions (at very low speed, mind you, so they were safe) to observe the ways that the average-sized woman’s body moves in those situations. As it turns out, they move a lot more quickly than the bodies of the average male.
From this they developed what they’ve called the EvaRID (Rear Impact Dummy):

The results were compared to a male dummy. When hit from behind, the female crash test dummy demonstrated generally higher acceleration and quicker motion than the male dummy. Car seat backs do not yield backwards to the same extent when a woman is hit, which means women experience an earlier and more powerful forward rebound.

Recently defending her research at Chalmers, Carlsson spoke on her findings and her goals:

“I hope that my research will lead to improved whiplash protection for both women and men when they are hit from behind in a collision. From a national economics perspective, it would be advantageous to adapt car protection systems to suit women as well.”

It is her goal, as one would hope for those in charge of testing our vehicles for safety, that her findings can help reduce injuries when applied to the real world:

“If we can lower the forward acceleration for both women and men during collisions, we can also significantly lower the risk of injury. One way of doing this is to manufacture a seat that yields backwards in a collision. Another way is to allow the upholstery padding to absorb the energy, meaning the seat frame does not move.”

“Injuries can be further reduced by producing a female size dummy and by adapting car protection systems.”
“Since the research indicates that women generally run a higher risk of sustaining injuries during car accidents, we need to separate the statistics and injury criteria for men and women.”

Frankly, it seems completely ridiculous to us that we’ve gone so long with such an unbalance in how we test the safety of our cars, so we’re grateful that scientists like Carlsson are stepping up to try to even it out.
(via PHYS) (Image via SHF Wire)

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Alanna Bennett
Alanna is a pop culture writer who works as the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, an entertainment writer for Bustle, and a freelancer for everywhere. She has a lot of opinions about Harry Potter and will 100% bully you into watching the shows that she loves. Don't worry, it's a sign of friendship.