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Crash test dummies smarten up

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(CBS) – New government figures show traffic deaths in the U.S. rose 9 percent in the first half of 2012.

Now, crash dummies used for years are “getting smarter” to combat the problem and, possibly, save your life.

The Hybrid 3 crash dummies are the latest, upgraded mannequins taking a test drive in the General motors lab.

Made with more life-like features, the dummies take a beating in hopes humans won’t have to.

“How the dummy’s chest compresses, as an example, is designed to mimic how a real person’s chest will compress. How the dummy’s neck bends during a severe crash is also designed to bend the way a human’s neck would bend during a crash,” said Jack Jensen, who runs the GM Crash Test Dummy Lab.

 The dummies are made in a variety of adult and child sizes. About 10,000 crashes are simulated in the lab each year- testing cars and child car seats.