The work carried out by the Spanish Foundation Línea Directa aims to build cars more designed for male sizes.
Are there differences between men and women when it comes to road safety? According to a study by Direct Line Foundation In Spain, there is a large gap in the protection women receive when driving, to the point where female drivers are 17% more likely to die and twice as likely to suffer a serious head injury, compared to men. men. in a road accident.
The study “Safe cars for all. Analysis of accidents from a gender perspective (2012-2021)” was presented by the general director of the Línea Directa Foundation, Mar Garre, who highlighted that the work was carried out in collaboration with the Zaragoza Center and the Institute pontifical technological research of Comillas. University.
The results of the analysis are worrying. According to a computerized crash test that reproduces a frontal collision in identical circumstances for both sexes and taking into account the anatomy of each sex, determined using computerized axial tomography, female drivers could be twice as likely to suffer a serious head trauma and almost 50% higher risk of having a skull fracture than men in the event of a frontal collision. Additionally, it is stated that women also have a 17% higher risk of dying in the event of an accident.
Among the reasons given to explain the difference between the sexes, the study indicates that “the reasons are clear: by not reaching the pedals well, women of small or medium height are forced to approach too close to the steering wheel, which significantly increases the risk of serious injury. injuries to the chest, face and neck during airbag deployment. Additionally, the design of the car’s seat belt promotes the “submarining” effect in female drivers, a slippage of the seat that causes significant internal injuries upon impact through the lower belt. In fact, it is the leading cause of fetal death due to trauma. On the other hand, the design of this element does not take into account the female chest and does not sufficiently protect women’s shoulders.
Regarding the results of the study, Angélica Zelaya, Transport Customer Manager at Mutual de Seguridad de Chile, said that “the study contains very relevant information to manage, control and progress in road safety. Let us not forget that to avoid road accidents, serious injuries or, in the worst case, deaths, we must work on the three factors that make up road safety: the human factor, the Environment/Road ( infrastructure) and vehicles. The study focuses precisely on the last area, that of vehicles, where it shows a complex reality, where the main conclusion is clearly that women are more exposed at the time of a road accident, even with more serious injuries or, even worse, with a higher rate. of death. mortality”.
Regarding the difference that can be seen in the protection enjoyed by each gender, Angélica Zelaya shares the results and comments that “the design of vehicles, whether for private, utility or cargo use, plays an important role in safety of all occupants, including women. There are, of course, physical differences between men and women, such as bone structure, muscles and body fat distribution, which can influence safety measures and how injuries occur in the event of an accident. of the road. For example, women tend to be smaller in height and physical strength than men, which can make them more vulnerable to certain types of injuries, such as those to the neck and spine.
Looking to the future, the Mutual Safety specialist said that “every year, safety and driving assistance systems are more advanced, this is a reality that we cannot ignore, since we pass from simple restraint system (belt safety) to autonomous assistance and more and better safety standards for occupant protection. What we must not lose sight of in this advancement is the improvement of the safety of their vehicles, considering women with simple things like seat belts or even airbags that adapt to different sizes and morphologies, as well as the structure of the vehicles to be improved. absorption of energy in the event of a collision and reduction of the risk of injury. There is undoubtedly room to continue to improve and adapt designs to ensure the safety of all vehicle occupants in the event of a road accident.
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