The Importance of Crash Test Dummies

Whenever we think of safety and vehicle testing, the plastic family of four crash test dummies springs to mind. So what do these crash test dummies actually do? What is their purpose?

Crash test dummies are the reason that vehicles are allowed to be released into the market, or in some circumstances, get recalled off the market. 

They take our place in a number of positions inside the vehicle to test just how safe it is and what may be required to make it safer and more reliable.


Photo: Crash Test Dummies in action 

Evolution of the Dummy 

Since the birth of the Crash Test Dummy (or as they are scientifically known as Anthromorphic Test Devices), dummies have evolved to replicate more than just the average male or female. 

There are now dummies for children, and adult women and men in all shapes and sizes in order to exercise more rigorous testing procedures. 

According to Osozo Library, "rather than simply testing seatbelt design, now dummies allow researchers to explore injury reduction strategies, neck responses, and now side collision impacts with the new Side Impact Dummy (SID)"


Photo: Original CTD being wired

Important Testing Tools 

As per the requirements of each vehicle, manufacturers receive the plans and specifications package for the cars in which they are able to determine which parts and materials must be purchased from trusted vendors. 

After the dummy has been assembled and the skin is fitted to the dummy, foam is injected beneath the surface to give a firmness and pliability to the skin that resembled a real human. 

This pliability is extremely important for the purpose of testing, as it is able to give a more accurate response to show how a real human being might react to a crash of particular force. 

The Future of Crash Test Dummies Computer technologies are responsible for the current range of crash test dummies which have become even "more adaptable to human simulation through design improvements, testing methods and data analysis." 

Although some critics might argue that a computer is also capable of doing the crash test dummy’s job entirely by computer simulation of the crash and human reaction, manufacturers continue to argue that the physical dummy itself is far more valuable to do without. 

Modern technologies available can now zero in on specific injuries and provide sensors for more than just limbs and bone injury. Crash Test Dummies are able to simulate a human being’s skin, gaining insight for bruising and abrasions, which is far beyond anything a computer can offer. 

To this day, Crash Test Dummies have provided outstanding feedback on the safety and vehicular issues which might arise. The impact these dummies have on the market is extremely important to testing the safety of each individual vehicle, while also understanding the potential injuries that could be obtained in each vehicle available on the market.

All vehicles retailed in Australia are required by law to undergo ANCAP safety ratings.  

This ensures that all manufacturers are able to  provide consumers with transparency regarding advice on vehicle safety.

ANCAP provides customers with a star rating between 1 to 5 which highlights the complete safety assessment of the vehicle. All of Motorama's new vehicles have been awarded an ANCAP rating, which, can be searched via the ANCAP website.