New Crash Test Dummy "Family"

For the past thirty years, all of the well-known crash test dummies used to test vehicle safety have been modeled on an average sized male. However, in response to recent criticisms about airbag safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed a new crash test dummy family. This family has been designed to test the effects of safety systems on a broader range of body types.

The family consists of a dummy the size of a large, 223 pound male, a small female about 109 pounds, and three child dummies representing a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 12-month-old infant. Dr. B. Tilman Jolly, professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, was quoted as saying, If you are going to use crash dummies to test an air bag, you need to have dummies that are representative of humans multiple sizes.

The new crash tests will take into account a number of factors, including the fact that women tend to be smaller than men and are therefore more likely to sit closer to the wheel and thus closer to the airbag. This may make them more prone to injury when the bag inflates. The researchers will also test the child-sized dummies under a number of circumstances involving air bags. These situations will include what happens when baby seats are improperly located in the front seat and what happens when children are unbuckled, standing, or leaning against an airbag.

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