It was once the case that men did most of the driving, designing and building of cars. So, it is perhaps understandable that, in those less enlightened times, they designed vehicles primarily to accommodate themselves.
Yet nowadays, there are even more women than men who have driver’s licenses in the United States. There are also far more women who occupy positions of all kinds within the automotive industry. Yet manufacturers still design cars to meet the needs of men, and, as a result, women are far more likely to die or suffer serious injuries in a crash.
American industries can be slow to change
It’s not just the car industry that has lagged behind in realizing that companies should not design products utilized broadly by all adults to suit an average man alone. Women hikers have only recently benefitted from the production of female-specific waterproofs, backpacks and sleeping bags, for instance. Yet there’s a massive difference between getting sore shoulders because your pack is not designed for your body and dying because your seatbelt isn’t.
Testers need to update their crash test dummies to reflect the diversity of adults in the U.S.
The standard crash test dummy was designed to mimic the proportions of an average man in the 1970s: 171 pounds, 5 feet 9 inches tall. Many people, especially women, do not fit that profile. While there are some female crash-test dummies in usage now, reports suggest there is a long way to go in equaling the field and making cars that are just as safe for women and, indeed, other men whose bodies look nothing like your average crash-test dummy.
Hopefully, improvements will continue to be made, but until then, you’ll just have to hope that the vehicle safety features you have will work well enough if you are involved in a collision. If they don’t, it may be worth speaking with a legal professional about seeking compensation for your injuries.