A report published in the Emergency Medicine Journal this month revealed some startling information regarding obese drivers in America. According to the study, conducted by the University of California, Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research & Education Center, obese drivers are up to 80% more likely to die in car crashes than average-weight drivers. This statistic alone could have long-term repercussions for car designers, insurance companies, and overweight drivers across the country.

According to the study, there seem to be two main reasons drivers who are obese die in car accidents more frequently. First, obese individuals tend to have health conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, which may make it more difficult to recover from a serious car accident injury. Secondly, seat belts do not accurately fit obese drivers and excess body weight may actually prevent seat belts from working properly. In frontal collisions, for example, the lap belt must tighten around the pelvis to prevent forward motion and potential head trauma. Excess body fat may impede lap belts from engaging properly and this can cause serious head and neck injuries.

As the United States continues to tip the scales and the obesity problem escalates, car manufacturers, designers, and engineers may have to account for our growing waistlines. Until they do, drivers who are obese will continue to be at a greater risk when injured in a car accident.

“But minimally, [the findings] appear to mean that in car crashes, size does matter, because it affects outcome. How, why and what we can do about it now become the important questions,”  —Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center

Seattle Car Accident Injury Attorneys

If you or someone you love is injured or killed in a Seattle car accident, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Seattle car accident attorney immediately. At Phillips Law Firm, our Seattle car accident lawyers have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in car accidents in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma, and throughout the State of Washington. Call us today for a free case evaluation at 1-800-708-6000.