What gender are crash test dummies, and why does it matter?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Most crash test dummies are male. You might think that being inanimate objects, it does not matter. Yet crash statistics show it does matter to women, and it should matter to men. After all, men have mothers, spouses and daughters.

Women have a 17% greater chance of dying in a car crash than men. Why is this?

Is it because women are worse drivers than men?

As much as some men love to believe this, women are not worse drivers. They cause fewer crashes than men. 

Is it because women are more fragile than men?

Not quite. Women’s bodies are, however, different from men’s. Their necks are one body part that is not as strong as that of a man. Hence, when the head is thrown forward in a crash, a woman is 22% more likely to suffer a severe head or neck injury than a man, whose neck is typically more muscular.

Is it because cars are designed around men?

This is the real reason women have a greater chance of death in a car crash than men. The safety features in cars are designed around male crash test dummies. For example:

  • Seatbelts are an obvious one: You have never seen a man lowering or raising a seatbelt from its ideal position because it hurts his breasts.
  • Airbags are another: Manufacturers have to decide what height the airbag should be, and men are generally taller than women. So the average airbag will be a little too high for the average woman.

Some manufacturers have started to add female crash test dummies to their tests, yet the car industry is still biased towards males.

Remember, you would not need safety features such as belts and airbags if every driver took more care. If a negligent driver injures you, you need to find out about your legal options.