Auto dealer showrooms in California and around the country feature cars that boast an array of innovative safety systems, but they do not appear to protect women as well as they protect men. After analyzing crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Crashworthiness Data System gathered between 1998 and 2015, researchers from the University of Virginia discovered that female passenger vehicle occupants who wear seat belts are 73% more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than belted males.
Higher risks for women
The results of the study were published in the academic journal Traffic Injury Protection. Researchers focused on front-end collisions involving about 23,000 belted drivers and passengers, and they found that automobile safety has improved significantly in recent years. Modern vehicle occupants are less likely to suffer serious skull, spinal, abdominal, thigh or ankle injuries in a crash, but the risks are noticeably higher for women. When comparing the outcome of these accidents based on gender, the researchers noticed that women suffered a disproportionate number of injuries to their lower extremities.
Crash test dummies
The way auto makers and government agencies test cars may be one of the reasons why women do not fare as well as men in serious accidents. NHTSA has been using the same dummies to conduct crash tests since the 1970s, and the female dummy is just a scaled-down version of its male counterpart. The female dummy currently in use represented only the smallest American women when it was introduced, and Americans today weigh a lot more than they did four decades ago.
Crash test dummies
The vast majority of car accident injuries are suffered in crashes caused by recklessness or some sort of human error. When road users are injured because drivers acted negligently, experienced personal injury attorneys may file lawsuits on their behalf seeking compensation for their hospital bills, pain and suffering, property damage and lost income.