Can Crash Test Dummies Really Simulate Human Injuries?

by gclatworthy on October 16, 2012

Crash test dummies have been used for many years in an effort to assess the safety aspects of automobiles. For quite some time, consumers have gotten into the habit of checking the most recent safety trials that feature crash test dummies prior to making automobile purchases. 

How Crash Test Dummies Evolved

First Technology Safety and Analysis experts have indicated that automakers began showing concern for auto safety in the 1930s when accident fatalities rose to 15.6 per 100 million miles driven. Researchers had been working to protect human beings during space, air and road travel, however, it was not possible at that time to attain realistic data unless humans were used in testing. Our Manhattan accident lawyers explain that that was completely out of the question so cadavers were used, but the process created too many problems. Some labs attempted to use animals which was equally troublesome. Therefore, researchers began developing anthropomorphic test devices, now known as crash test dummies.

Reliability Factors

The reliability of crash test dummy data has been scrutinized in a number of circumstances. For example, the impact of collisions on females and children is said to differ from that of the average male. Since the average crash test dummy is designed based upon the male body prototype, scientists and safety analysts insist that models need to be developed for women and children in order for the data to be relevant, factual and useful for determining car crash and impact safety.

Female Injuries are Different

It has been determined that when hit from behind, women are twice as prone to incur whiplash injuries than men. Because the crash test models have all been designed to replicate men, the statistics are not considered useful for female passengers, let alone children. Because women’s bodies are said to move faster in collisions, researchers tested for women in accidents at very low speeds to determine how their bodies would move when hit from behind. Research indicated that women were generally at much higher risk of sustaining an injury during any auto accident. Because of this, the crash test dummy statistics would need to be separated for men and women.

Female Crash Test Dummy Development

As a result of the statistics controversy that erupted after that discovery, researchers began working on developing a crash test dummy to represent an average female. Researchers subsequently developed computational female models called EvaRID (RID for Rear Impact Dummy). However, the model has only been in the market since the end of summer, 2012. Because of this, most crash test dummy statistics would only apply to accidents involving males alone.

Child Size Crash Test Dummies

It has also been found that children’s car seat safety is sorely lacking. There has been much controversy concerning the fact that belt positioning boosters are not covered by the federal safety standards. Issues with developing effective crash test dummies in children’s sizes are a key reason why child safety seats are without mandates for federal safety requirements. Therefore, the effectiveness of side, rear and rollover collisions has not been considered in any crash test dummy study. In addition, the various different sizes of children has played a part in a lack of suitable dummy designs for testing.

Due to all of the confusion about types and sizes of crash test dummies, the testing results should be considered relatively invalid when it concerns women and children. It will remain unclear whether crash test dummies are actually suitable for simulating human injuries until the testing requirements are scientifically identified. 

This article was written by Georgina Clatworthy, a former legal blog editor who contributes this article for Manhattan accident lawyers, a legal service provider aiming to connect accident victims and attorneys.  Their team knows that accident attorneys are a dime a dozen, but finding one who is trustworthy and with a proven track record is more difficult.  Through their service you can be assured of finding an attorney who will work with your best interests at heart.

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