Project: In Car Safety of Women

Reference: UG161B

Last update: 09/09/2003 15:59:55


The main objective of this propject is to develop specific advice on car design to ensure that safety (crash safety) and security (personal security) needs of female drivers are recognised.


This project took forward some of the areas identified in the UG161 projects on the in-car safety of women - particularly behavioural and social factors, and road safety issues. It is also undertaking a concept car design exercise to raise the profile of gender issues in traffic safety.

Results: The report concluded that women are significantly disadvantaged in the road and traffic environment: -

(i) Many women lack confidence in driving and feel vulnerable in the road and traffic environment.

(ii) Women are more vulnerable to injury in crashes than men. This is a key finding, which emerged from the accident data analysis.

(iii) Cars are not designed to suit women's anthropometric characteristics or their journey requirements.

(iv) Women do not receive adequate information on choosing, using and maintaining their car.

Policy implications: The data suggests the benefits of designing the vehicle package to fit the anthropometric characteristics of the female drivers and passengers, including those who are pregnant, elderly or who have reduced mobility. Likewise the development of smart occupant protection has the potential for significant benefits for women in crashes, as does improvements in vehicle compatibility. In terms of the road environment a combined engineering, design and enforcement strategy needs to address the increased levels of aggression on our roads.

Finally, exclusive reference to male anthropometric specifications in regulations and research programmes is not justified by real world data. Crash test criteria should be satisfied by both 50th percentile male and female dummies; research and experimentation should ensure that average females benefit equally from male oriented programmes and regulations should be encouraged.


University of Loughborough
Dept of Mathematical Sciences, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU
01509 222875

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £112,100.00

Actual start date: 15 November 1999

Actual completion date: 28 February 2001


Report UG161: In-Car Safety of Women
Author: Uni of Loughborough and Coventry
Source: Available from the mobility and inclusion unit: :

Departmental Assessment Status: Project completed prior to the implementation of the Departmental publications scheme.