Research from Sweden has revealed that women are three times more likely to suffer whiplash injuries than men.

A study conducted on more than 400 whiplash injuries claimed for since the 1990s has sited that one of the reasons why women are at higher risk than men is because they sit nearer to the steering wheel.

The research based at Umea University in Sweden suggested that crash-test dummies should better reflect a woman’s figure as opposed to the current crash-test dummy named BioRID which is the same size as an average man or a large woman.

Tests were also carried out on how men and women sit in the car when stationary and when driving plus how they adjusted their car seats. They compared the results with tests use on BioRID and concluded that women’s increased risk came from sitting higher and more upright in the seat and sitting closer to the steering wheel.

Researchers led by Bertil Jonnson said: Current crash dummies used to develop vehicle seats and neck supports, for instance, are geared to men of normal size, but not to women.

"This is especially true in regard to height.

"Nor ds testing methodology take into consideration differences between the sexes, or differences in sitting position between the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat."

Researchers are calling for a new crash-test dummy to be designed to better reflect the average sized woman. However, for women and men, sitting in the driver’s seat entails twice the risk compared with the front passenger seat.

Stephen Jury


May 19, 2008