VICTORIA’S road trauma authority has taken a bizarre and macabre step in its bid to keep drivers focussed on safety - redesigning a human to survive a car crash.
The Transport Accident Commission today introduced the world to “Graham”, a middle-aged bloke with a grotesque physique that maximises his chances of avoiding injury in a crash that would kill a normal human.
“As much as we like to think we’re invincible, we’re not,” the TAC says. “The human body can only withstand certain amounts of force in a car accident.
“In fact, the impact forces of just 30km/h are enough to be fatal – such as striking a pedestrian or a side-on collision with a tree.”
The TAC combined road trauma specialists with engineers and an artist to create what they believe is a human that was built to survive a crash.
Graham looks like an alien. His fat-lined head is enlarged, and filled with fluid gaps to absorb the energy of an impact, and sits on top of a thickened neck. He has no nose – this often breaks when the airbag hits it – and his ribcage is heavier and incorporates shock-absorbing features meant to dissipate forces.
His skin is thicker as well, with the aim of reducing the number of cuts and bruises that a car crash can cause.
“Cars have evolved a lot faster than humans and Graham helps us understand why we need to improve every aspect of our roads system to protect ourselves from our own mistakes,” TAC chief executive Joe Calafiore said.
Graham will go on show at Melbourne’s State Library of Victoria before touring the state. If you can’t make it there, the TAC has launched an interactive website that allows you see Graham close up.