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:
- A 5th percentile female dummy, representing a petite woman at 5-feet tall weighing 110 pounds.
- A 50th percentile male dummy, at 5’9″ and weighing 172 pounds.
- 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.
- New Crash Test Dummy To Gain Pounds To Reflect Fatalities Among Obese [Krishnadev Calamur at NPR]
- Like drivers, crash-test dummies are becoming obese [Lindsay Deutsch and Carly Mallenbaum at USA Today]
- The ever-expanding America: Next-generation crash-test dummies to weigh 273 pounds to reflect fatter nation [David McCormack at Mail Online]
- Are obese crash test dummies the key to preventing road deaths? [Kieron Monks and Nick Glass at CNN]
- Crash test dummies are getting fatter to better represent humanity [Daniel Cooper at engadget]
© Copyright 2014 Brett A. Emison
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.