Female crash test dummy

The American Journal of Public Health has published a new study on the role of gender in auto accidents. The results indicate that women are more likely to be injured than men when involved in comparable crashes. Researchers say that when wearing seat belts, female drivers have a higher risk of chest and spinal injuries.

A combination of relatively smaller stature and differences in preferred seating positions make women more vulnerable, according to the study. Their chances of being injured while wearing a seatbelt are 47 percent higher than men.

But not everyone is buying the research. Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety told ABC News that the researchers used out-of-date data. The study looked at crash statistics going back as far as 1998. Many cars on the road then would be almost 20 years old by now, meaning they would not incorporate the most modern crash protection technology.

"The study would have a lot more value if it were limited to 2000 and later model year vehicles to make sure all vehicles had female friendly airbags," Ditlow said.