Volvo reveals why women aren’t as safe behind the wheel

VOLVO has called for better treatment of women by car designers, accusing rival marques of endangering female drivers by favouring men when developing new vehicles.

The Swedish brand says women run a "higher risk" of being injured on the road because "most automakers still produce cars based exclusively on data from male crash test dummies".

Standard crash tests use a 77.7 kilogram male crash test dummy as the driver.

Male drivers feature predominantly in crash tests.
Male drivers feature predominantly in crash tests.

But Australia's ANCAP crash body also tests cars with a smaller 49kg female dummy in the driver's seat, and with children in the rear.

An ANCAP spokeswoman said male motorists comprise 75 per cent of Australian road fatalities.

Professor Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist at Volvo's safety centre, said Volvo goes beyond standard dummy sizes by taking into account data from thousands of real-world crashes recorded since the 1960s.

"This means our cars are developed with the aim to protect all people, regardless of gender, height, shape or weight, beyond the 'average person' represented by crash test dummies," she said.

Volvo says its seats reduce whiplash.
Volvo says its seats reduce whiplash.

The luxury marque says "women are more likely to suffer from whiplash injuries" because of differences into anatomy, something it takes into account with seat design. Volvo will make its real-world crash data available to all manufacturers in a bid to make driving safer for a wider variety of people.

The manufacturer's safety push includes programmable keys similar to Ford's MyKey arrangement which lets parents set speed limits and other restrictions for novice drivers.

Volvo is following Ford’s lead with programmable safety keys.
Volvo is following Ford’s lead with programmable safety keys.

The key will be standard on all Volvo models from 2020, when the brand puts in place a maximum speed of 180km/h for its vehicles.


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