New Crash Test Dummies Reflect Rising US Obesity

Car crash dummies are designed using data collected from insurance and academic instutions in order to determine the most common injuries, as well as the most common victims. Due to the fact that a obese persons are 78 percent more likely to die in a collision, due to the way people gain wait. According to Chris O’Conner, CEO of Humanetics, the leading producer of dummies,

The reason is the way we get fat. We get fat in our middle range. And we get out of position in a typical seat.”

The newly designed obese dummies include a prototype weighing 273 pounds with a BMI of 35. With obesity rates in the US continuing to increase, the dummies reflect that being overweight is becoming a growing norm.

Today, safety dummies have over 130 information channels, allowing vehicle manufacturers to collect a wide range of data. The next generation of dummies, THOR (Test Device for Human Occupant Restraint), tests median range occupants with the most advanced sensors to date.

It allows manufacturers to see things that dummies can’t tell them, and they can more easily modify virtual models, such as adding subcutaneous fat to simulate larger people.”- O’Connor

In addition to weight, developers are attempting to tackling ways of reflecting age in dummies in order to address the increasing risk of dying of suffering serious injuries from collisions as individuals get older. Analytics used by Humanetics reveal the risk of serious injury increases by 20 percent in drivers who are 50 years old and by 40 percent in drivers who are 80.


Read more here- “Overweight Crash Test Dummies Developed in Response to Rising US Obesity Levels,” (Katelyn Murphy, CNN)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.


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