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Auto makers using outmoded testing for vehicle safety


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Dec 26, 2012 in Car Accidents

If you believed the crash safety tests that auto makers put their new model cars through, injuries and deaths on the highway should be far lower than they actually are. A new research paper suggests that one reason for the significant discrepancy between real injuries and test results is the use of outdated crash test dummies in safety tests to measure what kind of injuries should be anticipated in the event of a car accident. Motorists in Connecticut and nationwide wind up driving around in new model cars that have been certified as complying with current safety standards after undergoing test crashes with these outdated dummies onboard.

Despite the fact that automakers claim that they make efforts to make their vehicles as safe as possible, 35,000 people in the U.S. wind up dead in auto crashes each year. The researchers found that the dummy-simulated injury rate recorded in current testing procedures appear to be at a level of only half of the allowable level under current safety requirement.

If the dummies were constructed in a way that made them more representative of today's actual drivers and passengers, the injuries recorded in test crashes would be higher and more reflective of the level of injury occurring in the real world.

The size and shape of the typical crash test dummy used is thinner and shorter than today's average adult male. Other dummies are used that are supposed to represent men with larger frames, petite women, and young children, but these are also based on original models that do not reflect the actual characteristics of today's population.

These results may be worrisome for those who expect to be kept safe and alive in the event of a crash. No amount of testing, of course, can prevent every accident from occurring. No matter how many safety precautions are taken, there is little that can be done when a reckless driver gets behind the wheel. Negligent drivers put everyone at risk, and motorists must try to drive responsibly to avoid accidents in the first place.

Source: Claims Journal, "Outdated Crash Test Dummies Blamed for Continued Auto Fatalities," Denise Johnson, Dec. 18, 2012