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CarMany people rely on safety crash test results when shopping for a new car. These tests place a representative dummy in the car and look at the result of various types of crashes, subsequently giving grades to cars based on how well they fare. However, since these tests started decades ago, the dummies have changed very little. Now, manufacturers assert that it's time to take an honest look at ourselves and make the dummies more representative of the people who will be driving these cars.

The crash test dummies made in the 1980s (that are still in use today) weigh 170 pounds, but Humanetics, the company that manufactures the dummies, claims that the dummies don't represent the current population. Many Americans are overweight or obese, which increases the chance of injury in an accident.

So how are the new crash test dummies different? They have a weight of 273 pounds and a Body Mass Index of 35. The weight is accurately distributed so that the mid-section has the bulk of the weight. They are also a little taller, as the average height has increased over the years. However, the price tag of these dummies is also quite high, at $500,000.

It remains to be seen whether companies that perform these crash tests will invest in the new dummies. Some maintain that the size of the person isn't the main focus of the test, but how the car responds in these collisions. They want to make sure features such as bumpers, crumple zones and airbags react the way they were designed to so the occupants of the car are protected in a collision.

As with all things, time will tell whether government mandates require these larger dummies to be used by crash test companies. Those looking into safety test results should consider that the crash test dummies used may not be an accurate representation of the actual passengers in the vehicle.

Your safety is our priority. Call Sweet & Baker Insurance Brokers at (415) 512-2100 for more information on San Francisco auto insurance.
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