It is undeniable that obesity is an epidemic in the United States. Now, several highly-respected studies have come out showing that in addition to the array of health problems obese people face, they are more likely to be fatally injured in car accidents. There are a number of reasons why overweight drivers and passengers are more likely to suffer grave injury in the event of a crash. One reason is because vehicle designers have not taken into consideration the changing body types of Americans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one-third of Americans are so overweight that they are more vulnerable to conditions such as heart disease, sleep apnea, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer compared to their average-weight counterparts.
Researchers at The University of California at Berkeley’s Safe Transportation and Research Education Center have found that if you are obese, you are 80 percent more likely to be fatally injured if you are involved in a car accident. The study looked at data from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which examined 41,283 collisions. Lead researchers Thomas Rice and Motao Zhu were aware of previous research showing that in a collision, an obese driver’s lower body is propelled farther upon impact before the seat belt engages, causing more physical harm. Also, the excess fatty tissue around an obese driver’s waistline can prevent the lower seatbelt from fitting properly, while holding the upper body back.
Designs Must Mirror the American Population
The problem with seatbelts may be a type of design flaw. According to Rice and Zhu, American automobiles are designed to protect consumers within a normal weight range. Crash test dummies are average weight adults and children. Female crash dummies typically weigh 108 pounds, and male dummies weigh around 172 pounds. As the obesity rate skyrockets, vehicle manufacturers may need to make alterations to their safety testing programs. People who are obese and survive car accidents may also heal slower afterwards, and face additional complications while recovering.
One perplexing finding of this study is that obese female accident victims are twice as likely to suffer fatality than their obese male counterparts.
Cherry Hill Car Accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law Obtain Compensation for Victims of Car Accidents and Their Families
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you are entitled to answers. The experienced Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law will fight to have your questions answered, and help you recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. To speak with one of our lawyers, call us at 856-414-0010 or contact us online today.