Are Women Less Safe in a Car Crash?

by Julianne Hoekstra

It turns out that vehicle safety might be different for men and women. A recent CBC News article centred on research showing that women are 73% more likely than men to suffer serious or fatal injuries in car collisions. On its own, this is concerning enough, but perhaps more concerning is the reason why.


CBC News revealed that one reason why this is occurring could be because crash safety tests tend to be conducted almost exclusively with one type of crash test dummy – a dummy modelled after men. Women and men can have many physical differences, from the typical size discrepancies to different fat tissue distribution. These factors cause seatbelts to fit differently over a man as opposed to a woman. Those differences matter.

According to CBC News, this male-modelled dummy has been used for the past 20 years. That’s plenty of time to design a crash test dummy based on a woman’s anatomy. Because automotive safety tests generally rely on the male-modelled dummy, they are missing out on key differences that can apply to women. Auto manufacturers who rely on these tests when designing vehicles are missing specific safety measures that could make vehicles safer for women. Further, the additional information could also benefit everyone, not just women.

Auto collisions happen every day. It’s important that auto manufacturers take measures to design safe vehicles for all drivers and passengers.