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Report: Male-Focused Crash Tests Put Women at Risk

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Oct. 29, 2019—A study from NHTSA shows that a female driver or front passenger who is wearing her seat belt is 17 percent more likely than a male to be killed when a crash takes place, per Consumer Reports.

And, a 2019 study from the University of Virginia (UVA) shows that for a female occupant, the odds of being injured in a frontal crash are 73 percent greater than the odds for a male occupant.

Yet, according to the report, an average adult female crash test dummy does not exist, despite the fact that women obviously drive to work, take road trips, and ride in cars with friends, and even though female bodies react differently from male bodies in crashes. In 2003, NHTSA put a female crash test dummy in a car, but it represents only 5 percent of women by the standards of the mid-1970s. In frontal test crashes, this dummy rides as a passenger or doesn't participate in the test at all.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, today’s average female is 5.4 inches shorter and 27 pounds lighter than the average male. As a result, females may sit closer to the steering wheel or wear their seatbelts differently from males. 

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