Working with their counterparts at Wake Forest University and Ford Motor Company, Virginia Tech researchers are developing computer models to help create pregnancy-friendly car safety restraints. This research has profound implications because women are now often driving to work much longer into their pregnancies, increasing their chances of becoming involved in an automobile accident.

As reported in Virginia media, Virginia Tech head researcher Stefan Duma says that pregnant women are more at risk in an automobile accident than in any birthing complications, and according to some estimates, approximately 300 to 1,000 unborn children are killed each year in car crashes. The Virginia Tech biomedical engineering lab has the capability to conduct crash tests that could one day save lives. Future safety options that could emerge from the research might possibly include pregnancy-specific seat belts, better air bags, or other protective devices.

Although the new protective technology is many years away, a Ford official said that “we chose to work with Virginia Tech and Wake Forest because we believe they better understand the biomechanics of pregnant women and could translate that into effective computer crash test models.” The protocols under development could help Ford safety researchers better understand how crash forces specifically affect pregnant women. Ford is funding the study.

In addition to this critically important research, technological advances of various kinds will likely provide further protections for motorists and passengers of all genders and ages in the years ahead. Here and now, year end is a particularly tricky time on Virginia roads with holiday parties and weather-related hazardous driving all part of the equation. If you–or a loved one–-have been injured in a Virginia automobile accident, you need to know your legal rights. Contact the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C., Toll Free 877-544-5323, for a no-obligation consultation.


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