Restrained Male and Female Occupants in Frontal Crashes: Are We Different?
Paper in proceedings, 2013
The safety community is questioning the effect of gender on the performance and assessment of
occupant protection systems. This study consists of: 1) an investigation of NASS‐CDS data with belted occupants
involved in frontal vehicle crashes and 2) a comparison of dummy responses in two matched frontal tests.
Because of recent work on a 50th female dummy neck, focus was placed on neck responses. An assessment of
cervical facet angles was also carried out from computed tomography (CT) scans of 423 adult patients.
The NASS‐CDS data showed that the relative risk of being seriously injured was higher in females than in
males for crash severities up to 65 km/h. Females had higher overall risks of serious injury in all body regions
except for the head and the abdomen. In 25 to 65 km/h crashes, females were more at risk of spine injuries
than males. In the matched tests, the normalized results showed overall higher biomechanical responses in the
female than in the male dummy, in particular in the neck region. Airbag interaction with the head/neck complex
was noted with the female dummy. The CT scan data indicated that the cervical facet angles increased with age,
becoming more horizontal. The increase was greater in females than in males. The quantification of anatomical
changes associated with gender is needed to improve physical and/or numerical tools used to assess occupant
responses and to understand differences in injury patterns.