Last year, government regulators made female crash test dummies a mandatory part of crash evaluations for the first time in collision evaluation history. Until then, manufacturers had been content to use dummies patterned after the average American male.

Safety advocates have argued for years that designing for male occupants present problems for smaller females. When airbags deploy, they're meant to strike occupants in the chest, but smaller individuals may instead be hit in the chin. If that happens, further head and neck injuries could ensue. According to Automotive News, smaller women are three times as likely as average-sized male drivers to be seriously injured in accidents.

Automakers have repeatedly argued that the average-sized test mannequin covers 95 percent of the driving population, and that developing a smaller dummy would take too long to create and be cost prohibitive. That argument has officially fallen by the wayside with the new requirements. Automotive News reports manufacturers are officially required to use small female crash dummies in front collision evaluations for 2011 model-year units.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      weside29
      • 2 Years Ago
      That child had nightmares for weeks after the encounter in that picture.
      Euphrentic
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sex doesn't matter! Size dose! Hey, put DDs on a 5'2 dummy and call it a day... what else would make the difference??! They even have infant dummies!!!!! COME ON!!!
      Pucky42
      • 2 Years Ago
      Attention Autoblog, do some basic research and you'll find that the government has mandated crash testing with female dummies for well over a decade now.
        BahamaTodd
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Pucky42
        Correct. They've been using several crash dummy sizes already for the 95th percentile male, 50th percentile male, and 5th percentile female each representing the largest, average, and smallest of adults. They also have child dummies for 12mo, 3yrs, and 6yrs. I'm not sure why this is suddenly news.
      MrMajestyk
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought it was because they were trying to compile data on nut trauma.
      Jami
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ummm, the dummies aren't so much female as they are just smaller. I'm guessing (and hoping) crash test dummies are not anatomically correct.
      photofill
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey, I don't want to be left out, they should mandate a dummy that is 6'8" tall too! Forget those short people, they can use a booster seat! /sarcasm
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        crandallRk
        • 2 Years Ago
        Then get involved in local politics... It works, don't be cynical in order to just not bother(lazy). Democracy might not be perfect but it's the best we have and it despite cynics, is still ours to change.
        tump
        • 2 Years Ago
        I'm just going to point out that the nazis were straight white males. But you've put your idiocy on show here for quite a while, so no surprises here.
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      It does not take rocket science to figure out any great force applied to the head and neck region has great ramifications with respect to injuries. Soon they will mandate more sensors and computers to detect occupant height so the airbags deploys properly adding more weight while they are trying to reinforce stricter fuel economy standards.
      Brandon Allen
      • 2 Years Ago
      So, creating a female crash dummy is cost prohibitive? They are crashing hundreds of brand new production vehicles into concrete walls, I'm pretty sure that costs plenty. Besides, mythbusters makes a crash test dummies from scratch like every episode. How hard can it be?
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brandon Allen
        Think for a second genius, you just invalidated you're ow npoint. If they are crushing HUNDREDS of brand new production vehicles, then now they have to DOUBLE that since they have to perform the test again with the second dummy. If the dummy covers over 90% of the population, that surely includes females too. Doubling test costs to fractionally increase that number is surely more a matter of politics and ignorance than practicality. And, yes, you're welcome because they will pass the costs onto you.
      Henry
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, they actually argued that it will cost too much? So, what is a female's life what to them? I wish this arguement was made public back when they made it because it goes against what's right. If it had affected their pockets by boycotting their products, may be they would have thought better of it.
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Henry
        Learn to read. "average-sized test mannequin covers 95 percent of the driving population" The dummy was just an average sized puppet that covered nearly the entire driving population, regardless of gender. There are short males and tall females, but vehicles are made for an average person. So now they can test for a short person, but that doesn't mean they can change the angle of airbag deployment or it'd hit everyone else in the navel.
      domingorobusto
      • 2 Years Ago
      When you're designing a system that has to be used by a widely varying group of people, because you can't cover all cases with one system, you have to design your system to cover the greatest number of people. So everything is designed to a 95% coverage model, which happens to be a person 5'8"-5'9" tall. So airbag systems are going to continue to be designed to that level. So including testing for people shorter than that is a waste of time until they develop an adaptive system that can deal with both cases (average and short), because it would be stupid to skew the design of the current system away from the average to deal with a vast minority case. So the government is ramming more testing down everyones throat that is just wasteful and unnecessary. Typical.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        [blocked]
          domingorobusto
          • 2 Years Ago
          The problem comes in with REALLY short people, usually 5' tall or shorter. The airbags are designed to a certain average torso height as well, again based on 95% coverage model. Short women (moreso than men, but very short men as well) usually have much shorter torso heights as well, so even though the airbag hits them in the proper spot, they still get hit in the chin, because their chin falls into the envelope of the median torso height. Also, in the case of VERY short people, they can only put their seat up so far and still be able to reach the pedals, especially with how beltline height keeps getting taller and taller. The solution would be a system that targets the occupants chest and can account for torso height, but that would be a ridiculously complex, heavy, and expensive system.
        CrunchyCookie98
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        True, though since the average American male is 5'10" and the average female 5'4", the middle ground would be more like 5'7". And considering airbags are devices meant to supplement seatbelts (which were generally doing the job just fine before airbags came along), we should err on the side of milder deployment. Injuries dropped drastically after the 2nd gen airbags started showing up in 1998.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why do they have to have a gender regardless? Just make a small and normal size androgenous set. I can already picture bored engineers putting the dummies in sexual positions and dressing them up in lingerie and leather now.
        Luciano
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        Did you mean androgynous? - ANDROGYNOUS: /anˈdrɒdʒɪnəs/ ▶adjective partly male and partly female in appearance; of indeterminate sex.
          Ducman69
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Luciano
          You're just angry that you're unemployed now thanks to that Microsoft Clip character that does spell-checking for free.
    • Load More Comments