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Post-crash Parity: U.K. study shows women more likely to be trapped after a crash

Toronto, Ontario — A U.K.-based research team is pushing for the industry to expand crash testing involving “female” crash dummies, as their studies have shed light on a disparity in testing requirements that leaves female drivers far more vulnerable after a collision.

Professor Tim Nutbeam, along with his team of researchers from the University Hospitals Plymouth, found that women are generally more prone to spinal and hip injury following a crash, and therefore are more at-risk of being trapped in a disabled vehicle.

Using data collected from over 70,000 people who’d been admitted to major trauma centres in the U.K. from 2012 to 2019, Nutbeam and his team reported that 16 percent of women involved in serious motor collisions were unable to escape their vehicle afterward, as compared to nine percent of men.

“I think the important bit is that it shows that women and men have different experiences of entrapment—that a trapped woman is not the same as a trapped man,” said Dr Lauren Weekes, an anaesthetist at the university and one of the researchers.

For example, the study pointed out that the primary points of impact for the average male body are the head, face, chest and arms. All important body parts, surely, but none quite as helpful as the trusty old spine and legs for actually scooting your way out of a wreck.

Weekes commented, “it’s harder to get yourself out of a car yourself if you’ve broken your pelvis.”

“Understanding sex differences in injury patterns may help paramedics predict who is more likely to have certain injuries, which could have implications for how you help them out, and where you end up taking them,” Weekes said.

“It may also help vehicle manufacturers direct safety systems to protect men and women equally.”

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