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Safety features in many vehicles not made for obese individuals

Minimizing the number of serious injuries and deaths that occur on roads throughout the nation is important to many. In addition to individual drivers, the federal government is interested in doing what it can to keep vehicle occupants safe. Accordingly, multiple safety features are now mandatory in vehicles including the installation of seat belts.

We have all heard the adage that “seat belts save lives.” This is apparently true-in part. According to a recent study however, there are some loopholes in the practice. The issue is that they, along with other safety features found in vehicles, are designed to work for passengers of a average weight, not the obese. As a result, seat belts in particular may not be able to hold a heavier person in place the way they are intended to. In turn, this can lead to catastrophic injuries, even death.

This is likely only one factor contributing to the outcome of the study conducted using statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study found that those who have a Body Mass Index higher than 39 are 80 percent more likely to die in a car crash as compared to those with BMIs deemed to be in the normal range. Those who are a little lighter fare a bit better. Individuals with a BMI between 35 and 39.9 are 51 percent more likely to perish.

These days everyone knows about the benefits ties to maintaining a healthy weight. Now, it appears that the ability to survive car accidents has been added to that list.

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

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