A 2011 study found that women were 50% more likely to be seriously or fatally injured in a car accident than men, with both of them wearing seatbelts.
However, no one has been able to figure out why until now, and it turns out that the answer is even more unacceptable and infuriating than you might think.
A new study conducted by the University of Virginia found that women are still much more likely than men to sustain critical injuries in car accidents, and they found that the test dummies used in crash tests are to blame.
CityLab reports that the new study analyzed crashes involving over 31,000 people between 1998 and 2015, and women are in more vulnerable positions when involved in “frontal impact collisions”, even when wearing a seatbelt.
Women still remain in more vulnerable positions when involved in “frontal impact collisions,” even when they wear a seatbelt, and no one has been able to figure out exactly why. “We obviously know a lot of ways that men and women are different bio-mechanically,” says Jason Forman, a principal scientist at UVA’s Center for Applied Biomechanics.
Jason Forman, a principal scientist at UVA’s Center for Applied Biomechanics says that we, obviously, know a low of ways that women and men are different bio-mechanically.
For example, females have wider pelvises, and fat is distributed differently.
Jason says that these differences have the potential to change the ways that seatbelts interact with the body, however, the problem is that researchers have historically used a “male-type crash-test dummies” only.
Becky Mueller, a senior research engineer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that even though these dummies have done an OK job for improving the safety for people in general, they’re just not doing enough for women.
Jason says that the only female crash-test dummy that has been used tends to “simulate smaller women”. It weighs 110 lbs, and its five feet tall, which means that it covers only a small part of the female population.
Unfortunately, this is not a problem that can be fixed right away, because, according to Becky, building a crash-test dummy model requires around 20 to 30 years of bio-mechanical research and testing, and the dummies that are being used now were built using data from the 1970s and 1980s.
Not to mention, they “skewed heavily male”.
Jason believes that if we leave things as they are at the moment, we’re going to be in the same position with autonomous vehicles as we are with regular vehicles.
We’re going to end up building autonomous vehicles in which females have a much greater risk or injury, and we shouldn’t allow that to happen.