Review of average sized male and female occupant models in European regulatory safety assessment tests and European laws: Gaps and bridging suggestions
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2019

There are two parts to the aim of this study. The first part comprised reviewing how men and women are

represented in regulatory tests conducted to assess adult occupant safety in vehicles in Europe. This part also

contains an overview of some differences between females and males that may influence dynamic responses in a

crash. Based on the results of the review an outline for how to better represent the adult population in regulatory

tests has been suggested.

The second part was to reflect on these issues from a specific critical legal perspective, that is from a Gender

Legal Studies point of view, focusing on the European legal framework that governs the tests of adult occupant

safety in vehicles in Europe. Since the beginning of the 1970s legal scholars have shown in several areas of law

that there is a gap between superior legislation and practice, but also between gender equality as a superior legal

principle and subordinate legal rules that govern safety requirements. The same pattern can be discerned in the

area of Transportation Law.

The results of the review of the ECE regulations shows that the average sized male represents the adult

population and that the average sized female has been excluded from regulations assessing the protection of

adult vehicle occupants. The fundamental values, on which the Union is founded, including the overarching

goals of the Union, seem to be rendered invisible in the laws and critically impact the safety of women in

everyday life. According to the gender system theory, the interests and priorities of men are continuing to shape

the law. Consequently, the law neglecting the safety of women on roads has implications on the development of

society. The lack of legal provisions that demand female crash test dummies representing the female part of the

population, means that there is no incentive for car manufacturers, authorities or other stakeholders to develop

test methods and female crash test dummies in ways that promote political objectives expressed in legal form,

i.e., the legal values expressed in general provisions and principles stated in the Treaty on European Union and

the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, such as gender equality between women and men as well

as non-discrimination

This study highlights the undeniable gap between the legal framework and legal requirements with regard to

occupant safety for the whole adult population. It would be attainable to bridge this particular gender gap by

providing equal representation for the female part of the population with regard to vehicle safety, as that males

benefit from.


Occupant Safety

Male and Female Models

Regulatory tests

Safety Assessment



Astrid Linder

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Fordonssäkerhet

Wanna Svedberg

Statens Väg- och Transportforskningsinstitut (VTI)

Accident Analysis and Prevention

0001-4575 (ISSN)

Vol. 127 156-162





Transportteknik och logistik

Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin





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