Women have 47 percent higher chance of serious injuries than male drivers in comparable collisions. Our crash test dummies are stuck in 1978.
Have you met the Hybrid III 50th Percentile Male? At 172.3 pounds and 69 inches tall, he's a totally average dude, at least according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Hybrid III is the crash test dummy most often used to set safety standards by the NHTSA. Unfortunately, women are actually twice as likely as men to suffer whiplash in a rear impact collision, and the Hybrid III doesn't respond the way the "average" woman would.
Swedish researcher Anna Carlsson developed EvaRID (RID: Rear Impact Dummy) to correct this oversight. When hit from behind, EvaRID—like most women—has a more pronounced response than male dummies—and most men:
The dummy was then subjected to eight crash tests in regular car seats. The results were compared to a male dummy. When hit from behind, the female crash test dummy demonstrated generally higher acceleration and quicker motion than the male dummy. Car seat backs do not yield backwards to the same extent when a woman is hit, which means women experience an earlier and more powerful forward rebound.\n
EvaRID is still a prototype, but Carlsson plans to continue refining the dummy and hopes to bring it to market soon in order to "separate the statistics and injury criteria for men and women":
If we can lower the forward acceleration for both women and men during collisions, we can also significantly lower the risk of injury. One way of doing this is to manufacture a seat that yields backwards in a collision. Another way is to allow the upholstery padding to absorb the energy, meaning the seat frame does not move.\n
Image Courtesy of Chalmers Institute of Technology