Thorough knowledge of the characteristics of the human body and its behaviour under extreme loading conditions is essential in order to prevent the serious consequences of road and other accidents. In order to study the human body response five type of models for the human body can be distinguished: human volunteers, human cadavers, living and dead animals, mechanical models (crash dummies) and mathematical models. These models will be briefly introduced. The main part of this paper will concentrate on mathematical models of the human body. The high standard current crash simulation technology has reached, can be attributed mainly to three developments: 1. developments in the field of multi-body techniques 2. developments in the field of finite element techniques and 3. developments in methodology and technology dealing with the determination of input data and validation of models for crash dummies. A review of recent developments in this field will be presented, with special emphasis on a suitable general research methodology to be used for crash dummy model development and validation. Various types of models will be presented with their application fields, capabilities and limitations. Area's of future development will be identified. Most of the current human models in use for vehicle design and safety system optimisation represent crash dummies, as prescribed in vehicle safety regulations, rather than simulating the real human body. The challenge for the future is to develop mathematical models that offer a more realistic description of the human body than current crash dummies do.