Crash safety tested | Injury |Pregnant women |Philadelphia and Bucks

Published researcher Dr. Harold Weiss says that “car crashes are the number-one cause of injury death among unborn babies.” Though states and local municipalities like Philadelphia or Bucks County are not required to report these deaths to the federal fatal accident system, some do, while others do not.

Back in 2000, safety engineers at Volvo worked on a “virtual” pregnant crash test dummy named Linda; a computer simulation of a pregnant woman. At the time, it was considered difficult if not impossible to build a physical model with the “level of detail and accuracy of human tissue response” as that which could be recreated in a computer model. 

Linda Thackray, a then biomechanics and crash simulation engineer at Volvo said that if they made a realistic physical model to test, “it would likely be destroyed after a single crash.” Volvo’s computer model could endure multiple crashes at any severity level for testing purposes. This did not bode well for pregnant women and their unborn that might be injured in a crash. Her research, however, did make a positive impact upon furthering general crash knowledge.


What should a pregnant woman do
to ensure safety in the event of an accident?

Until auto manufacturers have perfected the technology and build the safety features into the cars, safety experts advise pregnant women to:

• Be a passenger whenever possible.
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Wear the seat belt’s lap part low over their pelvis; avoid placing it over the soft belly.
• Wear the diagonal section between the breasts and the side of the belly.
• Do not disable the car’s airbags.
• Sit at least 10 inches back from the steering wheel center.

If you cannot sit that far back, try to adjust the telescoping steering wheel or use height-adjustable pedals. If your car does not have these features, then do your best to minimize your driving.

Philadelphia and Bucks County area drivers can take heart in that in 2009, USA Today reported that “Ford Motor-funded research at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest universities is near completion on mathematical models that measure how crash forces affect pregnant women and fetuses.”

Although researcher Stefan Duma of Virginia Tech said that it could be 15 years before auto manufacturers have incorporated new technology to help protect the unborn, Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC are encouraged to learn that a company called Humanetics Innovative Solutions makes the MAMA-2B for car manufacturers to use as a crash-test dummy.

MAMA-2B simulates a pregnant woman with the uterine area filled with fluid. The pressure on the fluid is measured to gauge reaction to, and potential injuries in a crash.

If you are or were pregnant and injured in an accident, a PA personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for loss and injuries you may have suffered. Get a FREE copy here of the PA Car Accident Guide for more information.