USA Today reports:
Ford Motor-funded research at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest universities is near completion on mathematical models that measure how crash forces affect pregnant women and fetuses.
States are not required to report fetal deaths in data sent to the federal fatal accident system — some do, and some don’t. But researcher Stefan Duma of Virginia Tech says reliable studies show from 300 to 1,000 fetal deaths because of car accidents each year.
Duma says the fatality rate of unborn babies in crashes is about four times the rate for infants to 4-year-olds….
The goal of developing safer cars for pregnant women and thus their unborn children is a laudable one, but I’m a little surprised this is happening. With low fertility and birth rates, I would have guessed that the market for safer cars for pregnant women and their children would be declining and thus there would be less impetus for such research. Interestingly, one driver of increased fetal automobile deaths is the trend for women to take maternity leaves after giving birth which means they are driving more.