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Safety features in older cars geared more toward men

A study by the American Journal of Public Health found that women who wear seat belts are 47 percent more likely to be injured in a car accident than are men in the same type of crash. The study found that this huge disparity owes to the way safety systems in older model cars and trucks are designed.

Things that may contribute to more injuries for women include the height difference between men and women and seating posture. Because a woman is generally shorter than a man, she will suffer more injury from an air bag deployment in an older vehicle than a male will because air bags in vehicles older than 2007 did not have weight and height sensors. The older vehicles had one-size-fits-all safety systems for air bags, seat belts and head rests.

The study applied to cars built between 1998 and 2008. Clarence Ditlow of the Center of Auto Safety said that the types of injuries seen frequently in the study do not happen with newer cars. The more modern vehicles have dual-stage driver and passenger air bags. They also have weight sensors that can change the force of the air bag. The weight sensors sense the size of the person in the seat and also consider factors such as seat placement and seat belt use.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Cleveland, Ohio, personal injury firm. The newer-style "smart" air bags only became standard on vehicles after the 2007 model year. Thus, if your vehicle is older, the type and extent of injury you could suffer in a collision might be different.

Source: USA Today, "Women more likely to be injured in traffic accidents" Oct. 28, 2011

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