Obesity contributes to car accident fatalities

Published: 07/02/2013

We are all fully aware of the benefits of maintaining a healthy body. However a recent report has shown your weight can actually bear significant influence on your ability to survive a road traffic accident.

According to the report “Driver obesity and the risk of fatal injury during traffic collisions” published by Thomas Rice and Motao Zhu with the University of California, obese drivers are up to 80 per cent more likely to die in a car accident.

Research indicates inadequate and improperly positioned seatbelts is one of the contributory factors, prompting calls for car manufacturers to design cars which better protect obese drivers and passengers.

Initial research suggests seat belts don’t always restrain an obese driver or passenger adequately. This means their body can be propelled further upon impact and sustain more substantial injuries.

Impact of obesity levels on road traffic accident fatalities

Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher An 80% more chance of dying in a car accident
BMI of between 35 and 39.9 A 51% more chance of dying in a car accident
BMI of between 30 and 34.9 A 21% more chance of dying in a car accident

The research is based on analysis of 57,491 crashes occurring between 1996 and 2008.

Content correct at time of publication

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