Murray, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Modernize Vehicle Safety Tests, Require Use of Female Crash Test Dummies Bipartisan “She DRIVES Act” Estimated to Save 1,300+ Lives, Prevent and Mitigate Thousands of Serious Injuries

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced legislation to improve passenger vehicle safety by requiring the use of the most advanced testing devices available — including a female crash test dummy. The She Develops Regulations In Vehicle Equality and Safety (She DRIVES) Act would enhance passenger vehicle safety by updating U.S. crashworthiness testing procedures. In addition to Senators Murray and Fischer, the legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

Currently, U.S. crash testing standards rely on a crash test dummy representing a typical adult male. However, this decades-old model does not consider other characteristics such gender, age, or disabilities. Research indicates that women are more vulnerable than men to certain types of injuries in car crashes. The She DRIVES Act is estimated to save 1,300+ lives, prevent and mitigate tens of thousands of serious injuries, and save billions of dollars in economic impact from preventing and mitigating injuries and deaths.

“Women make up more than half the population so it’s ridiculous that we are still doing crash tests with male dummies that can’t give us accurate information about how women would fare in the event of a dangerous car crash.”
said Senator Murray. “This is just one example of how the default male bias has real and deadly consequences—women are much more likely than men to get seriously injured and die in car crashes, in part because vehicle safety features just haven’t been designed for them. I’ve been pushing NHTSA to create parity in the crash test program for a long time and this bill would finally fix the problem—this is just common sense and it’s time to get it done.” Multiple studies have shown that women die and are seriously injured at much higher rates than men in crashes. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,300 women die every year who would have otherwise lived if female death and injury rates were comparable to that of males.

Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued over a year ago outlined the deficiencies in crash testing program, and NHTSA has missed multiple self-declared deadlines on dummy deployment. While NHTSA has long acknowledged that a family of crash test dummies is needed for accurate crash tests, the agency has yet to deploy dummies or tests that represent females, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups.

The She DRIVES Act would:

  • Enhance passenger vehicle safety by updating crashworthiness testing procedures under NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP);
  • Require the use of the most advanced testing devices available — including a female crash test dummy and a more technological advanced male dummy;
  • Establish injury criteria based on real-world data and introduce specific crashworthiness tests for female occupants in both front and rear seating positions.

Click here to view text of the legislation.