Ford Will Protect Your Family

Ford has developed an insert to measure abdominal injuries on a crash-test dummy that represents a 6-year-old. Made out of silicone, the test dummy is made to study the effects of seat belts in auto accidents. “The major focus [of crash tests] has always been on head and chest injuries,”Ford safety engineer Steve Rouhana said. “We really didn’t have the technology before to accurately measure abdominal response.”

Current tests use seat-belts that may be too large for children that have grown out of a child-safety seats (usually around the age of 8). The new silicone dummy can measure the penetration of the seat belts going into the child’s abdomen. Ford studies the results and looks to improve seat-belt designs. In addition, Ford is offering the technology to other manufacturers through the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Ford, General Motors, Chrysler and other manufacturers are part of a consortium, formed in 2006, that create human models on the computer that use virtual crash tests to further test safety features. “The goal is to create a virtual human so you can measure tissue-level injuries, like a torn aorta, which you can’t tell from a regular crash-test dummy,” GM spokesman Alan Adler said. “We do lots of development with virtual tests but, ultimately, we have to have a physical test. We don’t want to be surprised when NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] does its test,” Ford’s Rouhana said.

Things have come a long way since the development of test dummies in the 1970’s. These dummies were modeled from an average males dimensions (approx. 5ft 6in, 170lbs). Now, there are a family of dummies that include a 6-month and 6-year-old, a small adult woman (about 5 feet tall, 108 pounds), a pregnant woman, and a large man (6 foot 2 inches tall, 225 pounds) – all made for specific tests like hip, rib, neck, arm, leg injuries as well as damage done to internal organs, whiplash, etc.

It’s great to know that a manufacturer cares so much as to selflessly research and share safety features to make us all a little safer on the road. For more information, or if you are looking for a safe family vehicle, call toll free (800) 947-8633 and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.

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