Fighting gender inequality in crash test standards

Fatality rates for women can range from nine to 28% higher than men and women are 73% more likely to be injured in a car crash than men. The sad reality is that crash testing standards and practices were designed with male bodies in mind, using crash tests and dummies modeled after men’s bodies. This practice does not reflect the current population or engineering and technological advances—thus creating an inherent bias leaving women more vulnerable in vehicles than men and leading to a disproportional number of injuries and deaths.

Categories & Services

# Advocacy Campaigns
# Transportation & Infrastructure
# Integrated Media
# Nonprofit


Crash tests and dummies, created in the 1970s, have not been updated to reflect the current population or technological capabilities. This has resulted in a shocking safety disparity between men and women behind the wheel. Changes are needed to make cars as safe for women as they are for men. VERITY (Vehicle Equity Rules in Transportation) Now, a bipartisan coalition designed to shine a spotlight on the need to update crash testing standards, brought in APCO to help forge relationships across the political divide and bring visibility to this issue.


APCO helped VERITY Now (VERITY) develop a strategy and creative campaign to bring this issue to the forefront in a time of intense partisanship. We identified former congresswoman Susan Molinari and Beth Brooke, former Global Vice-Chair–Public Policy for EY, to serve as co-chairs and worked with the team to gather signatures of respected supporters for a joint letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. We helped VERITY land a coveted spot in the 2021 SXSW festival, host the “Why are Car Regulations Killing Women?” panel and secure in-depth investigative TV pieces focused on gender equality that aired in more than 120 markets. We continue to coordinate events with key stakeholders and deliver messages in high-profile media coverage to keep the issue top of mind.


VERITY’s campaign captured the interest of the public, who shared content, signed petitions and contacted their representatives, building awareness among key stakeholders and policymakers. The campaign’s outreach helped secure bipartisan support for updated crash testing standards in Congress, which has taken the form of multiple bills being introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as a provision in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that led to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. We will not stop until crash test safety standards make driving safe for all.

A video highlighting the media success, attention and support that VERITY Now gained throughout 2023 and since its initial inception.

fast company article about VERITY Now

Article in Fast Company about the disproportionate impact auto crashes have on women and what Congress can do about it.

verity now op-ed

2021 op-ed featured in The Washington Post authored by VERITY Now Co-Chairs Susan Molinari and Beth Brooke focusing on VERITY Now’s cause in fighting for gender equality in car crash testing standards.

verity now event invitation

VERITY Now virtual panel discussion featuring United State of Women (USOW), a former political advocacy initiative of Civic Nation, discussing gender bias in data and encouraging the public to advocate for equity in design.



Current and former Members of Congress who have publicly spoken up on behalf of women’s crash test safety during the VERITY Now campaign.


The percentage of public comments during the government’s request for comments on the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) that were specifically calling for updated crash testing standards that protect women.