'Crash test dummies are all male, and women are paying the price'

an article in the ‘Washington Post’:

I read the article, and think it’s complete and utter bullplop. Cars are safer than they have ever been, and there is simply no evidence to suggest that modern vehicles are designed to optimize safety for average-sized men at the expense of women (and presumably smaller-than-average sized men as well). I am tired of news articles trying to make everything seem like a racist or sexist conspiracy.


Not meaning to offend, but one of the chief problems with political discourse today is that people cannot tell the difference between fact and opinion.

This is not a news article. It is an opinion column.

That said, it’s an opinion column that’s based on actual news. It’s not just about raw size. Women’s bodies are different from men’s. That means even if you have a man and a woman, both 5’9 and 170 pounds, their bodies will not react identically in a crash. That’s not a “sexist conspiracy,” it’s science.


I agree. Women’s lower center of gravity will show a difference maybe with the lap belt taking a bigger role while the shoulder belt and airbags are more important for men.

As for a sexist conspiracy… don’t you think the majority of male engineers working on safety systems would be thinking more of protecting their wives and daughters in a crash?


Hah! Yes. Yes I did. This is what happens when you wake up in the middle of the night and browse Car Talk instead of going back to sleep. Thanks! I’ve fixed the error.


why are there so many russian car crash videos online?
is russian market for dashcams enormous?

Insurance fraud is rampant in Russia

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Vodka consumption is rampant in Russia also.


I do not know where you get your Crash Test Dummy data, but National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA’s Crash Test Dummies come in all sizes and sexes.

Each of their ten different dummies differs in size and weight, (large males, average males, average females, small females, four different size children, a 6-month old infant and a new-born), and each crash test dummy is designed differently too. NHTSA’s family of dummies represent a full range possible passengers.

Admittedly, they do not have a 400-pound dummy, but 99.9999% of the population is included in their inventory…

Here is the web site to NHTSA’s family of dummies…


I believe the IIHS side impact test uses a female sized smaller dummy. The lower head and upper body represented the greater risk of a shorter person in a side impact crash from an SUV.

Now that cars have seat belt load limiters and softer airbags, the size of the dummy is now more relevant in frontal crashes, since the amount of seat belt force applied to the dummy is equal regardless of the size of the dummy. In crashes < 40 MPH, the females will have more injuries. In crashes > 40 MPH, the females and teenagers will be more likely to survive.

If an 180 pound dummy just bottoms out the restraint system in a 40 MPH crash, then for the restraint system to stop the dummy before it hits the steering wheel in a 50 MPH crash, a smaller 120 pound dummy would be needed. At 56 MPH (double the energy compared to a 40 MPH crash), the dummy would need to weigh 90 pounds. With a 180 pound dummy at 56 MPH, only half of the dummy’s forward velocity would be stopped by the restraint system, and the rest would be absorbed by the dummy smashing in to whatever is in front. It would be equivalent to being in a 40 MPH crash with no seatbelt nor airbag. That’s why a 56 MPH crash in a modern car with a full size man is likely not survivable, but a young teenager can survive.

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Snowman , have you considered a new hobby ?


I work in the ER of a major Trauma Center and we have several major highways with 55/65/75 MPH speed limits near us. This is definitely false.


I get the idea that he has no friends that will put up with his nonsense that is why he bugs us.

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A 240 lb friend of mine survived a 55 mph head on crash into an equivalently sized car in a 1983 auto with 3 point belts, no airbags and metal knee bolsters on the dash. Injured, yes, seriously. Dead, no. This in the late 80s.

The 325 woman in the other, older, car, also with seatbelts also survived with fewer injuries…she had her own crash protection built in, apparently.

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Thanks for the example to support what I’m saying.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, cars from the 90s and earlier generally did not have load limiters in the seat belts, so a heavier person wasn’t more likely to bottom out the restraint system and smash in to the dash and windshield. All sizes of people were treated equally. Some of those cars from the 80s had a lot of room up front to come to a stop more slowly in a crash too, which is why they didn’t need load limiters.

Was her weight down low, where her upper body with her vital organs wasn’t subjected to the load from the extra fat? 20 pounds of fat in an accident can become over 400 pounds extra at 20 G!

Can you elaborate? You’re in a position where you should be able to provide real world information about this topic too. Do you see “women paying the price” in the ER? You don’t notice that younger people are able to survive more severe crashes? The EMTs say that for young people, if they can live through the first hour, they generally pull though.

It doesn’t support it, it refutes it. Cars are FAR better than this 1983 Buick my friend was driving. He HIT the dash with his knees, blew out both kneecaps. Internal injuries from hitting the steering wheel. Still survived.

I crashed my race car from 1992 into a tire lined wall at at least 55 mph. A compact car. Didn’t even bend the unit body. Didn’t hurt me at all with 5 point racing belts.

Cars are FAR more survivable today than 20 years ago, than 30, 40 or 50 years ago.


As I said before by whatever name he goes by he is right and everyone else is wrong he knows it all and we can’t make him see it.


Like the all 4 speed automatics only lockup their torque convertors only in high gear thing that hasn’t been true since the Clinton administration…got it!


2003 Ford Windstar is this way. I don’t have access to anything newer and it seems 1 in 100 people even know what a locking torque converter is. Do the newer 4 speeds lock up in just 3rd or 2nd as well?

Yes, they do, as do 5, 6, 7,8, 9 and 10 speed autos. Some even lockup in 1st gear.

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