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In case there weren’t enough reasons for overweight people to shed their extra pounds you can add another one to that laundry list. Morbidly obese individuals are 56 percent more likely to die in car crashes than normal-weight people.
Crash test dummies help put our vehicles to the test to determine just how safe they are, but just how much work goes into a dummy to make it as close to a human being as possible?
Looking to treat the family to an educational vacation this summer? Then head to the Smithsonian Institute, where you’ll learn all about the three-point safety belt, the padded dashboard and the famous “Car Safety for Dummies” dummies.
In honor of 75 years of automotive safety, as well as all the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiatives passed during this time, automakers and regulators have donated automotive safety systems to the Smithsonian. On top of that, it also marks the 25th anniversary of everyone’s favorite crash dummies, Vince and Larry, who starred in the NHTSA and the Ad Council’s PSAs.
A few of Vince and Larry’s costumes will be making an appearance, alongside a Hybrid II crash-test dummy from Denton ATD. Also on display is a General Motors Hybrid III crash test dummy that was introduced in 1975 (it still remains the industry standard). The three-point seatbelt, invented by Volvo in 1959, is on display too – Volvo donated a belt and seat from a 1961 PV 544.
Other added attractions include a padded dashboard, invented by Dr. Claire L. Straith. (Interesting side note: Straith was a plastic surgeon who studied the cranial and facial injuries sustained from automobile accidents, and who became an advocate for automotive safety systems.) An energy-absorbing steering column from a 1967 Chevrolet has been donated by General Motors, as well as safety literature from the American Automobile Association and three ignition-interlock breath analyzers from Guardian Interlock.
Where you one of those kids who would smash your toy cars together? If so, I bet your dream job lies in Sweden in Volvo’s crash test laboratory. More than 3,000 full-scale crashes have taken place, making this the most used and (still) most advanced crash research centre on the planet.
“We can replicate most of the accident scenarios that take place out on the roads. By analysing the results and then testing new safety technology, we can improve the safety level in our cars so that they become even safer in real-life traffic conditions,” said Thomas Broberg, senior safety advisor at Volvo Cars.
How advanced is this place? Well, they’ve just installed new cameras…that can take video at 200,000 frames per second.
“The degree of precision in a test in which two moving cars collide at 31 mph is 2.5 centimetres. This corresponds to two thousandths of a second. By way of comparison, a blink of the human eye takes about 60 thousandths of a second. This says a whole lot about the laboratory’s precision,” says Broberg.
Click through for some incredible facts about the safety center.