Women driving sports cars are at greater risk of injury than men, according to a new report by the Monash University Accident Research Centre.
The report examined how differences in male and female body shapes affect the severity of their injuries in a motor vehicle accident.
The differences were studied across a range of vehicle types and driver age groups.
Across all age groups, sports cars ranked very high in terms of injury risk to women but showed only a moderate injury risk to men.
Compact four-wheel-drive vehicles offered a moderate injury risk to women but a high risk to men.
Overall, large cars and large four-wheel-drives were found to have the lowest injury risk for both men and women across all age groups, with small and light cars scoring the highest.
While most of the differences were attributed to body shape, the posture of the driver has also been found to affect injury risk.
A recent Swedish study found that women tend to sit more upright and closer to the steering wheel than men, increasing their risk of whiplash injury.
The Australian report used data compiled for the Used Car Safety Ratings programme and was sponsored by a number of motoring and transport organisations across Australia and New Zealand, including the RAC in WA.
It recommended that crash test dummies used in vehicle safety tests incorporate a wider range of body shapes to account for differences between the male and female anatomy.
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