Crash tests are important, no doubt about it, it’s just a little odd that automobile makers and research facilities use dummies for the testing. In some aspects that makes sense, after all accidents cause injuries and purposely crashing live human beings could very well prove to be fatal. On the other hand how lifelike are those dummies? Do they always respond as a real live human would? In most cases their reactions are very similar and very easy to track. Still there it is at least one the human being who was routinely used as a live human crash test dummy.
Rusty Haight has survived 700 crashes. He regularly engages in tests which typically utilize dummies. These tests were performed for The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and Consumer Reports to develop safety ratings. Some of the data gathered from his tests has also been used to improve overall design of current automobiles and to improve protection. Law enforcement agencies have also benefited from his extensive work in the field of live crash tests.
The work done by this amazing live crash test ‘dummy’ as well as the thousands of actual crash tests has provided the data needed to improve safety for all drivers. By analyzing crash test data, engineers have been able to determine how to build a safer car and where to place air bags and other safety equipment for the best impact.
In spite of Mr. Haight’s great success at surviving over 700 crashes most automotive researchers are happy to rely on the old fashioned dummies for their test subjects. Mr. Haight himself is likely to say that while he loves his job, it isn’t something that just anyone can do. Instead, let’s leave the test crashes to the professional, if beat up, dummies.