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Are crash test dummies representative of average Americans?

It's safe to assume most Tennessee residents have seen the videos on the news of the crash test dummies that are used to test the safety of vehicles. These dummies are meant to give an idea of what the human body's response would be in different car accident scenarios. However, while these dummies certainly do have an important purpose, some safety experts are concerned that the size and shape of the dummy is not representative of the average person living in the U.S. today.

For a little background, the crash test dummies go back to roughly 45 years ago. At the time, actual volunteer Navy sailors were being used for the crash tests. At the time, the sailors were told to hold their heads and necks as stiff as possible during the crashes. The fake crash test dummies that are used now are based off of these 27-year-old sailors, which is certainly not representative of the current population.

In general, the current population tends to be taller and heavier than the most commonly used crash test dummy, which is the adult male based off of the sailor.

Of course, it should be noted that there are other types of crash test dummies used, including ones representative of women and children. We just tend to see the average adult male version of the dummy the most.

The hope is that conversations such as this one, where safety advocates start looking at crash testing measures, can lead to fewer accidents, and therefore fewer injuries, on roadways in Tennessee and throughout the rest of the country.

What do you think of the crash test dummies? Should ones be used that are more representative of the average American? What else can be done to decrease the number of injury and fatality causing accidents?


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