Crash Test Dummies Made Cars Safer (for Average-Size Men)

“You’re not restricted by the design of the physical dummies. You can kind of replicate real fingers and so on. From that, we get more detailed responses,” mentioned Dr. Jakobssen, including that Volvo has developed its personal related device in partnership with Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

The extra correct information collected from these checks would, in flip, assist automakers design parts for the completely different physique sorts, like fully customizable seatbelts or airbag methods, Mr. O’Connor mentioned.

None of those improvements, nonetheless, are low-cost to undertake or mandated, and activists and lawmakers are pushing for regulatory change.

In January, the Center for Study of Responsive Law, a nonprofit analysis group run by Mr. Nader, launched a report to mark the 55th anniversary of his seminal book with recommendations to replace present testing requirements and laws. One proposal would create a separate score system altogether that may “apply female injury criteria to the dummy test results.”

And in July, bipartisan bills had been launched within the House and the Senate that may examine the gaps in federal checks and requirements. The House invoice, for instance, would “order a comprehensive Government Accountability Office (G.A.O.) study of current federal vehicle safety tests and how those tests impact the safety of all drivers and passengers,” in response to a press release concerning the laws. The invoice would additionally require an analysis of “the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s failure to use crash test dummies that represent the driving public, especially women, while assessing vehicle safety.”

“I was startled to learn of allegations related to the gender inequality of auto safety tests,” mentioned Representative Gus Bilirakis, Republican of Florida and a co-signer of the House invoice, mentioned within the assertion. “I think of my wife, my mother, my sister-in-law — and all the women in my life who have made what they believed to be informed purchases for their family automobiles.”

“This important legislation will modernize the tests being used and improve safety for all drivers.”

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