Researcher Stefan Duma of Virginia Tech told USA Today that although states are not required to report fetal deaths in accident data, between 300 and 1,000 unborn babies die in car accidents each year. This accident fatality rate is about four times the rate for victims between infancy and four years old.
Ford Motor is funding the research on fetal accident deaths at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Duma reported that the research’s new mathematical models measuring crash forces' effect on pregnant women and unborn babies are a step in the process. He said the automobile industry is 15 years away from new technology that will help protect the unborn.
The models simulate what happens to the placenta, the baby's skeleton and the baby's brain in a crash.
A crash test dummy of a pregnant woman, called MAMA 2B, has a uterine area filled with fluid, USA Today says. The pressure on the fluid is measured in the tests.