Car safety is everyone’s concern regardless of gender. This is why it makes no sense whatsoever why the latest 5-Star Safety Rating Program doesn’t fully address the requirements of female drivers behind the wheels.
Male Crash Test Dummies Leading From The Front, But Why?
Most crash tests are carried out with male dummies. This means that these safety programs mainly target the average male driver. This is not much supportive for women who are already at a higher risk of being fatally injured by a car accident.
Latest Updates In The NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Rating Program
The NHTSA’s (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) latest updates are heavily dependent upon driver assistance technologies for keeping the drivers safe.
Some of the proposals regarding updates to the 5-Star Safety Rating Program include:
- Adding four more technologies for driver assistance. These are pedestrian automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping support, blind spot intervention and blind-spot detection;
- Adding technologies related to driver distraction, driver monitoring systems and alcohol detection;
- Devising a new rating mechanism for driver assistance technologies.
Many experts are now emphasizing the fact that the US government must use female dummies as well for crash tests. This is because by using only men it widens the gender inequality problem.
According to research, females have 17% more risk of fatality than males of the same age in the case of a road accident.
Why Does It Matter?
The fact that males account for around 70% of road accidents is forcing the government to think that they need more protection. However, on the contrary, the truth is much different. Men are involved in more road accidents because they are riskier drivers.
The bodies of women due to their bone density, size and muscle structure are at a higher risk of undergoing serious injuries.
Present Crash Dummies
The current male dummies being used for crash tests resemble US soldiers from the 1960s. This dummy is a 50th percentile male which means that it ideally reflects the bodies of males.
On the other hand, the female dummies being used for crash testing these days represents just 5% of female drivers. Such drivers are thought to be under 5 feet in height.
For studying the test results of females having bodies larger than this, the NHTSA uses computer simulation. This does not fully reflect the needs of women and this makes the situation worse for female drivers.
A New Dummy Dubbed Thor Is Being Developed
Humanetics’ THOR (Test device for Human Occupant Restraint) is presently available to be used for state of the art crash tests.
The new dummy is available in both male and female models to remove the gender disparity that is currently plaguing this system.
The THOR-50M is laden with modern-day technology. It is the work of technological advancements in the field of sensing and biofidelity.
The 50M part in the nomenclature of the THOR-50M reflects that the dummy is a 50th percentile male adult ATD. The development of this dummy was initiated in 2016 and is still in process.
The dummy weighs 76.6 kg in total and will offer researchers with the best in class information about front vehicle crash scenarios and the impact on several human body parts including:
While the new proposals for updates to the 5-Star Safety Rating Program are likely to make drivers’ and passengers’ lives safer, addressing the needs of modern-day female drivers using dummies that resemble their bodies is essential.
The NHTSA must take appropriate measures in this regard to reduce the risk of female drivers being involved in fatal car accidents in the future.