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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Big Dummy

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Larger Crash Test DummyImage Source: Humanetics

Crash test dummies are getting larger.  Have you ever seen a warning on a vehicle that an occupant may be too small or too large to ride in the vehicle safely?  Car makers have a duty to make their vehicles safe for all sizes – from smaller people to larger folks.  As our population increases its girth, so must our crash test dummies.

There are three sizes of adult crash test dummies typically used today:

  1. A 5th percentile female dummy, representing a petite woman at 5-feet tall weighing 110 pounds.
  2. A 50th percentile male dummy, at 5’9″ and weighing 172 pounds.
  3. A 95th percentile male dummy, at 6’2″ and weighing 223 pounds.

As somebody a little taller but a little lighter than the 95th percentile, I’m glad automakers test to a wide range of body types.  And that range is getting a little wider (like our waistlines), as the CDC now classifies almost 70% of Americans as overweight or obese.

Seat belts, air bags and other safety features have all been designed for thinner people and don’t fit larger people the same way, Chris O’Connor, CEO of Humanetics, told ABC.

– David McCormack at Mail Online

Humanetics, a leading manufacturer of crash test dummies, has announced a super-sized model to ensure that obese passengers are protected in the event of a crash.  A prototype dummy has already been produced to mimic a 273 pound passenger with a body mass index (BMI) of 35.  The company also hopes to develop dummies to replicate the age of drivers and passengers by 2015.

“Obese people are 78% more likely to die in a crash,” says O’Connor.  “The reason is the way we get fat.  We get fat in our middle range.  And we get out of position in a typical seat.”

– Kieron Monks and Nick Glass at CNN

Modern dummies – contrary to their moniker – are becoming quite “smart”.  The newest generation of crash test dummies can have more than 130 channels of information – nearly 5-times the information collected just a few years ago.

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