Cars should protect everyone.

Some people are less safe on the road than others. That’s why it’s time to share more than 40 years of safety research – to make cars safer for everyone. Not just the average male.

“By collecting real-world data for a long time, it has been possible to identify what injuries arise in different accidents for men, women, and children”

says Dr. Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

Volvo XC60 car outline drawing.

Help us make cars equally safe

Women are more likely to be injured in a car crash. Partly because male crash test dummies are the standard. At Volvo, our Accident Research Team has compiled real-world collision data since the 1970s where both men and women are represented. With the E.V.A. Initiative, since 2019 we have shared the results of more than 40 years of research.

The result of more than 40 years of research

In 1970, the Volvo Traffic Accident Research Team was formed. Since then, the team has gathered and analysed data from more than 40,000 cars and 70,000 passengers. This has led to many of the innovative systems we have in our cars today.

Volvo seat with whiplash protection prevents impact of neck injury.

The seat that reduces whiplash risk by half

Women are at higher risk of whiplash than men. This can be attributed to different anatomy and body strength. But not in a Volvo seat. Thanks to our Whiplash Protection System, WHIPS, which combines a unique robust head restraint with clever seat design to protect both head and spine, we no longer see a difference in whiplash risk between men and women.

Volvo car SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) reduces severe chest injuries.

An intelligent safety shield

Women are more likely to suffer a chest injury in a car crash than men due to differences in chest anatomy and strength. For optimal protection, we have continuously developed our car structure, safety belt and side airbags to minimise impact on the occupants. A Volvo innovation, SIPS (Side Impact Protection System), relies on an intelligent structure to boost overall safety. In fact, SIPS, together with the side-impact airbag, reduces severe chest injuries by more than 50% for all passengers.

Volvo car chassis with Inflatable curtain airbag reduces risk of head injuries.

Protecting every head

Women have specific protection needs, also in side-impacts. The shorter a person is, the lower in the car and closer to the steering wheel they sit – which makes the Inflatable Curtain that covers the full window a vital safety feature. In addition to SIPS, the Inflatable Curtain airbag reduces risk of head injuries with approximately 75%. It inflates in 1/25 second, and prevents the head from impacting the objects on the outside of the car and other elements. It was the first airbag system to offer improved protection for both front and rear seat occupants, taking side impact protection one step further.

The safety belt is the most effective lifesaver in car crashes.

The most effective lifesaver in traffic

A car accident can happen to anyone. So far, our safety belt has saved over 1 million lives. It protects everyone - regardless of your size, gender, or body shape. However, one group is subject to more unique risks than others : pregnant women. As one of the most important inventions in road safety, our safety belt offers great protection for all types of crashes. To learn more about the mother and her unborn baby, we developed the world’s first average-sized pregnant crash test dummy. It is a computer model that makes it possible to study how the occupant moves and how the safety belt and airbag affect the woman and foetus, among other things.

“Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo therefore is, and must remain, safety.”

Gustaf Larson, co-founder of Volvo

Two people walking up to a parked Volvo XC40 SUV.

Safer cars for everyone

Since the 1950s, we have studied more than 43,000 cars in real-life accidents with 72,000 occupants. As a result, this has contributed to many innovative systems such as WHIPS, SIPS, and numerous child safety products. We have gathered more than 100 research papers, available for anyone to download. We hope this will lead to safer cars for everyone.

E.V.A. - Equal Vehicles For All

Frequently asked questions

We have tested with a female crash test dummy since 1995, starting with the only available small sized female frontal impact dummy, HIII 5th percentile. In 2001 we included a small sized side impact dummy, SID2s. As the world-first midsized female crash test dummy, we developed a virtual model of a pregnant woman early 2000s. Ten years later we extended the crash test dummy family with a midsized female crash test dummy for whiplash evaluation in rear end impacts, as the only original car manufacturer in the co-development of EvaRID.

Data on Volvo cars in Sweden has been collected and stored in Volvo Cars Statistical Traffic Accident Database since 1970. The aim is to provide a large body of readily available data on the types of injury that arise in conjunction with specific accidents. The findings can then be applied. The good news is that we gathered data in the same way for many years, which has made it possible to map our progress and improve our success rate over the years.

In a pre-study in 1967, we started out with 28,000 cases. Since 1970, we have included more than 43,000 cars in real-life accidents with 72,000 occupants in our statistical database. In addition, we use data from several databases globally when doing our analysis.

The knowledge you are able to access and download through this project is a collection of more than 100 research papers. It is a collection of some of the research behind the development of safety innovations in Volvo Cars since the 1950s.

Yes, the safety belt is still the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in car crashes. It’s also mandatory in almost all countries in the world. Volvo’s safety belts are also continually being refined to further improve safety for everyone.