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Zombies as crash test dummies? It could happen

by | Oct 30, 2013 | Car Accidents

It appears that America has a new obsession with zombies. What was relegated to “B movie” status in the 1980’s has appeared to have made a comeback in the 21st century. Movies like “Warm Bodies” and “World War Z” along with AMC’s “The Living Dead” are very popular offerings.

The new obsession might be due to the use of the dead in living circumstances. Researchers in Europe are using human cadavers in crash tests, as opposed to the traditional mannequins used by many automakers. According to a recent AOL Autos report, the practice of using dead bodies to test how real people would react in a crash is nothing new (even though it seems gruesome). In fact, it has been going on since the 1930’s. 

The success of modern crash test dummies should be owed to cadavers. Before reliable “dummies” were developed, dead bodies were used to simulate real people and they were the closest alternative to real people in testing the crashworthiness of a car. Research using cadavers goes back to the 1930’s.

While many auto manufacturers stick to using plastic mannequins in simulated crashes, universities across the globe still use cadavers in experiments. However, there are some significant drawbacks compared to plastic dummies. First, no two cadavers are alike. They all have different heights and weights, and are normally older and frail. (The average age of a research cadaver is 72 years old). Also, cadavers can only be used once, while crash test dummies can be used continuously.

Nevertheless, the next time you see a zombie movie, it will be fun to image how they would fare as crash test dummies.

Source:, “The Driving Dead: Human cadavers still used in car crash testing,” Erin Marquis, October 24, 2013