Women often spend a lot of time driving their children to and from school, extracurricular activities like sports, and family activities.
Because they spend so much time on the road with such precious cargo, women often choose vehicles based on their safety rating and other perceived safety features. Yet new vehicle ratings reveal that safety information had been skewed for men, and that women and children may actually be at greater risk of serious injury from car accidents than previously thought.
Starting with 2011 models, the federal government began using a smaller “female” crash-test dummy for some safety tests, instead of the standard, average-sized “male” dummy. The result has been a lower safety rating for many vehicles – as much as two stars – to reflect the increased risk of serious injury for smaller passengers, such as women and children.
Different Safety Standards
Male dummies have been used exclusively in frontal-crash testing for safety ratings for more than 30 years. Experts say that, in general, the larger the person, the greater the impact that person can withstand in a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that smaller drivers and passengers suffer more head, abdominal and pelvic injuries when cars wrap around trees or utility poles. A 2011 study by the Center for Applied Biomechanics at the University of Virginia found that, even when wearing seat belts, female drivers were 47 percent more likely to suffer serious injury than male drivers in similar crashes.
Men are more likely to die behind the wheel because they spend more time on the road. However, according to the NHTSA, women are killed and injured at disproportionately higher rates than men when their driving time is factored in.
Traditionally, crash-test dummies have been modeled after an average-sized man, who can withstand greater forces in a crash. However, experts note that little testing has been done on behalf of the elderly, larger children, the obese, or others who fall outside average weight categories.
New safety testing has revealed that women and children may have been at far greater risk of injury on the road than they had thought. This information may have been misleading to some, who did not fully understand how the safety rating was measured.
Don’t risk your family’s safety. Check http://www.safercar.gov/ for your vehicle’s rating, and how it compared with the previous year when only male dummies were used.
If you or your loved ones were injured in a serious accident, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, with offices throughout North Carolina, at 1-866-900-7078 to find out if we may be able to help you. You may be entitled to compensation under the law!