New crash dummies cater toward the new average
WEST PALM BEACH —
Fun fact. The average American is about 20 pounds heavier than they were 40 years ago.
This is a big issue for crash-test dummies.
The crash-test dummy has been used in crash after crash for nearly 50 years.
This 5-foot-9-inch, 170 pound dummy has been the standard.
The safety feature, the airbags and most importantly, the seat belts, are designed around those dummies.
But with Americans getting taller, fatter and older over the years, changes are needed.
Heavier people seem to get much more sever, lower extremity injuries.
Christopher O'Connor runs humanetics, the leading maker of crash-test dummies.
He says that the new dummy, about 100 pounds heavier and a few inches taller, is more like a real, modern day driver.
With nearly 20% of drivers over the age of 65, crash dummies are being developed to replicate and elderly, more fragile body.
This will take years of regulatory approval for these new dummies to be used in official crash tests.