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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Stagg

The Test Dummy Gender Gap

Two cars crashing into each other during crash test

The research that is conducted on vehicles and safety features before they are made available to consumers is rigorous and essential, a chance to test things out to see the impact they will have on our daily lives once they come into wide use. When you picture the auto safety tests, it's likely you're picturing a crash dummy - bright yellow and robotic. But one important detail that has been overlooked about crash dummies is having an impact.

"New research shows that while cars are safer than they've ever been, women are at far greater risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries in a collision compared to men. And a major reason why, experts say, is because automotive safety tests are conducted almost exclusively with crash test dummies modelled after men."

The CBC took a closer look at the implications of this oversight. Crash dummies are pretty innovative affairs. They may look kind of like the mannequins you see in mall windows, but they are actually very carefully designed and offer a great deal of information on the impact of a collision on the human body. But because they are modelled on men, that information is often specific to men. It doesn't take into account how a collision might impact a woman differently, in regards to things like discrepancies in muscle strength or average size. And the absence of female crash dummies is having an impact, with researchers attributing some of the blame for women being more vulnerable in a vehicle to the lack of specific testing.

The automotive industry is accelerating at fast pace and revolutionary technologies are changing the way that we drive. But as we move forward into the future, it's important that we always consider who is benefiting and who is being left behind. For more, check out the original article on CBC.


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