The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a study indicating that the crash test dummies that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been using for decades need to be updated.
Specifically, the current models do not adequately address the unique safety needs of women, heavier motorists and older travelers. At present, the inadequacies of these dummies mean that the NHTSA’s crashworthiness tests are not wholly accurate and do not give consumers a clear view of how these particularly vulnerable groups will fare under certain crash-related scenarios.
This is a frustrating reality, given that the GAO has also underscored that the NHTSA has known for more than 20 years that women and older motorists face a greater risk of serious harm if they’re involved in a wreck. By introducing dummies that reflect some of the physiological differences between females and males and dummies that reflect a wider range of body sizes, the NHTSA could do far more to protect these vulnerable groups.
Staying safer, when possible
Even the most proactive and conscientious motorist can’t account for every hazard that could impact their ability to stay safe while traveling. Yet, by remaining informed about the most common reasons why people get hurt on the road, a traveler can make informed decisions to – at a minimum – stay safer than they otherwise would have been. For example, they can save to buy a safer vehicle that holds up better under all crash-test scenarios generally, which may mitigate the reality that the NHTSA’s crash test dummies don’t account for certain populations adequately under specific circumstances.
With that said, accidents will continue to happen. Should you find – despite your most informed, earnest precautions – that you have been injured in an accident, know that you don’t have to deal with the aftermath alone. Seeking legal guidance can help you to determine whether you may have grounds for a claim against an auto manufacturer or others involved in your wreck.