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Weight of Accident Victims a Factor in Surviving Crash

Casey Woodruff

Motor vehicles are a part of most people’s lives throughout the state of Illinois. Unfortunately this means that auto accidents are also a part of many people’s lives. While many of these accidents are what can be considered minor, resulting only in property damage, in the worst cases they cause catastrophic injuries, or even death.

There are many factors that contribute to a car accident having a tragic outcome. As it turns out, one of those factors is the weight of the occupants who are in a vehicle at the time of the collision. A recent study indicates the there is a correlation between the risk of a person dying in a crash and the BMI category into which they fall. Those with a BMI of 40 or higher face an 80 percent greater rate of perishing than those with a BMI considered to be in the normal range.

The study, which focused on information on accidents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, points to at least one reason behind the findings. Cars are designed to protect the “normal” sized occupant, not those considered to be obese. One way in which this is illustrated is the way in which the seat belts in such cars work for larger individuals. They do not hit the intended parts of the body on those who are obese. This means that in a crash, they fail to keep larger occupants’ bodies in place.

There is only so much that can be done to prevent car accidents. Because of this, it is in the best interest of those on the road to take whatever safety precautions they can to keep themselves safe. For some, in addition to wearing a seat belt and driving at a reasonable speed, this could mean losing a few pounds.

Source: Reuters, “Obese Drivers up to 80% More Likely to Die in Car Crashes,” Mark Chalon Smith, Jan. 31, 2013

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