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Women More Likely to be injured in Accidents; Yet Safety Testing Focuses on Men

It may be surprising to learn that women are as much as 73 percent more likely to suffer serious injuries in a car accident compared to men. Yet, the country’s federal safety regulatory authorities continue to ignore the need for testing standards that focus on the unique physiological differences between male and female bodies.

Hopefully this will change soon as at least one lawmaker is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to include crash test dummies that mimic the unique physiological and anatomical differences of females in 2019 in the design of its crash tests.

This is not the first time that attention has been drawn to the fact that women’s safety receives less priority when it comes to crash testing standards and auto safety. As far back as 1981, experts proposed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration use crash test dummies representing the average female occupant of a motor vehicle. However, no real steps have been taken to address this safety concern in the close to four decades since that first proposal was submitted. Even when female crash test dummies are used, the dummy is an outdated model that was designed in the 1970s and only represents 5 percent of American women today.  In fact, this particular dummy design is also actually used to substitute for dummies representing 12 and 13 -year -old child occupants.

Women have physiological characteristics that might make them more prone to certain types of injuries in car accidents. As a result of this neglect in female safety testing standards, women are at a risk of serious injuries that is a staggering 73 percent greater than for male occupants. These figures come for a study conducted by the University of Virginal which shows that the risks are much higher for women in accidents where they are in the front seats of a vehicle.

Consumer Reports also recently released the findings of studies which found that not much has been done to improve safety for female occupants involved in motor vehicle accidents. This is in spite of the fact that as many as half of all motorists in the United States are females.

Federal authorities need to take into consideration the fact that as many as 50 percent of all drivers in the country are women, not counting the number of women who ride as front seat passengers in motor vehicles. These facts must be accounted for, and testing standards must create room for the design of female crash test dummies that accurately reflect the modern female American woman who is very mobile and very independent.  Female injury rates that are 73 percent higher are unacceptable to any auto safety advocate.

All of these recommendations come in time to commemorate 40 years of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program which rates cars based on safety features. The program itself has come under criticism for its lax criteria which makes it far too easy for manufacturers to pass tests. Consumer Reports has also brought attention to the fact that the car assessment program does not include crash avoidance systems, like emergency braking systems.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to an Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and discuss your eligibility for a car accident claim.