According to a
recent study by the University of
California at Berkeley's Safe Transportation Research & Education Center obese drivers
are 80 percent
more likely to die in a car accident than drivers who were not overweight. The
report found that improperly positioned or inadequate seatbelts might
contribute to the increased death rate.
found that overweight drivers need to be conscientious when buckling their belt
and that auto manufacturers should design vehicles that do a better job of
protecting obese passengers. According to lead author Thomas Rice and co-author
Motao Zhu, an assistant professor with the University of West Virginia
Department of Epidemiology and Injury Control Research Center, "It may be
the case that vehicles are well designed to protect normal-weight vehicle occupants
but are deficient in protecting overweight or obese occupants."
reinforced earlier research that concluded seat belts do not sufficiently
restrain obese people resulting in the body propelling forward farther in an
accident. Proper placement of the lap belt --it should positioned as low on a
drivers lap as possible -- is key to the safety of obese drivers.
examined accident data from the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 1996 to 2008. They
analyzed 57,491 accidents and cut that data down to 3,400 accidents that
resulted in deaths with two vehicles of a similar type and size.
researchers found that the more overweight a driver is, the greater chance a
person has of dying in a collision. They used the World Health
Organization definitions of obesity to determine the weight at which
drivers become obese. The study found the following:
- At the highest obesity level which was a 40 or higher BMI
driver were 80 percent more likely to die than regular sized drivers.
- At the 35 to 39.9 BMI level, drivers had a 51 percent better
chance of dying.
- At the 30 to 34.9 level the chance of being more likely to
die drops to 21 percent.
While seat belt positioning was one reason obese people tend
to die when they are in an accident, researchers also found that
obesity-related illnesses may also have an effect on their ability to recover
from injuries sustained in an accident.
Obesity is a Big and
Americans are getting fatter every year. More than one-third
of U.S adults are now obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). Roughly 17 percent of adolescents and children aged 2 to 12 also fall
into this category.
is an expensive condition. Cornell University found that medical costs, tied to
obesity, are nearly double previous estimates. The study found that medical
costs for an obese person are almost $3,000 higher than a person at a healthy
weight. This puts the nationwide costs of obesity at roughly $190 billion per
have taken notice and are offering financial rewards for employees that get
involved in wellness programs that include weight-loss components. Some firms
are evening penalizing workers who refuse to sign up for these programs.
your weight is not only a great way to save some money on health and life
insurance, it may just save your life if you are in a serious car accident.