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Do gender biases in the car industry put women at risk?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Would it surprise you to learn that the vast majority of those injured or killed in car wrecks on American roads are men?

Maybe you have some strong opinions about whether women or men make better drivers, and maybe you don’t – but the studies are clear: Men are far more likely to engage in risky behavior behind the wheel, whether that’s speeding, drinking or just not buckling up. Men also drive many more miles than women, so the combo of those two factors can be distinctly dangerous.

However, the studies actually hide a sobering reality: When you compare situations side by side, a man is still 73% more likely to walk away from a crash with fewer injuries than a woman, and 17% less likely to be killed.

It all comes down to safety standards – which are oriented around male bodies

Nobody denies that the bodies of men and women aren’t the same, and they react differently in a wreck – but the vast majority of safety devices used in modern automotives are oriented around what has been designated as the “50th percentile male,” the “average” man.

Indeed, most crash-test dummies used to check safety features were designed around this ideal. While some female-shaped crash-test dummies are in use today, the vast majority of vehicles are still designed with males in mind – and the female dummies are actually just scaled-down versions of the male models, with no other real differences.

This means that everything from the seat belts to the airbags has been tested primarily on male bodies, which have a different shape and musculature than female bodies – and what works for one does not necessarily work for the other. Female bodies don’t hit the same points as male bodies when they come into contact with seat restraints and airbags, and they don’t have the same reaction when they collapse backward again into the seat as male bodies.

It seems that more change is needed in the automotive manufacturing and safety industry if 50% of this nation’s drivers are to be protected. Regardless of the situation, if you’re injured in a wreck, make sure you learn more about your right to compensation for your losses.