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NEWS
Team Studies Car Crashes Involving Pregnant Women
December 16, 2009


Researchers with the Virginia Tech ­­- Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Science and Ford Motor Company are investigating the development of improved safety devices to protect the fetus and the mother.

Although states are not required to report fetal deaths in accident data, between 300 and 1,000 unborn babies die in car accidents each year. This accident fatality rate is about four times the rate for victims between infancy and four years old.

In response to these numbers, Ford Motor Company has worked with the Virginia Tech­­-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences for the past three years to gather data in support of future development of a computer-aided model of a pregnant woman for virtual crash test simulations. The effort builds on 15 years of Ford research that helped lead to one of the first adult whole body computerized crash models.

These virtual crash models combine advanced computer simulations and medical research to virtually test how crash forces affect the human body.

The model being developed could help Ford safety researchers better understand how crash forces specifically affect pregnant women. The “pregnant” crash test model would add to Ford’s use of computerized adult test models in safety research. Computer models show how crash forces might injure skeletal structures, internal organs and even the brain.


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