ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Imagine this: you have the green light and you’re driving through an intersection when suddenly another vehicle runs a red light. What happens next can be serious and sometimes life threatening. Unfortunately, it’s a situation that happens every day in America.
It’s estimated that a person is killed in a traffic collision every 25 seconds. However, there are really smart people using dummies to curb the dangers of driving.
Scientists, engineers and researchers have long used crash dummies; by attaching accelerometers, force sensors, and strain gauges, they can measure the impacts of a car crash and grade the safety features of vehicles. However, mannequins may have reached the end of their usefulness.
Rochester car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say real car crashes rarely mimic a controlled crash on a test track.
“Every road, every intersection and every crash is unique in Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Weather can play a role, distractions play a role, and heavy traffic can influence how a car crash happens – these factors can’t be duplicated in a testing environment.”
Researchers at Wake Forest University are taking a new approach, creating a smarter dummy: a virtual dummy. For the past five years, researchers have been testing virtual crash simulations using real-world data.
The simulations can provide more detail on how a crash occurs – and how injuries can be mitigated.
“There’s only so much information you can gather from a crash test dummy that has just a few sensors,” Cellino said. “There are thousands of body parts that can be injured in a crash and test dummies don’t record data for all those parts.”
Most mannequins don’t have hearts, lungs or kidneys – but virtual dummies do. Researchers can now use computers to accurately predict injuries to internal organs, such as lung contusions.
Researchers have used virtual dummies to determine that injury-causing stress moves from the foot to the leg as a driver’s head impacts a front airbag. They’ve also discovered that reclined seating positions lead to a higher risk of head and chest injuries.
The team’s complete findings were published in Traffic Injury Prevention this fall.
Rochester car accident attorneys hope the ongoing study can help design safer cars and safer driving practices.