Seatbelts the latest problem for obese drivers
NEW YORK, May 8 — This week, a new study will suggest that obese people are far less likely to wear seatbelts than people of a normal weight.
The study, conducted by the University of Buffalo, adds an additional explanation to the conclusion reached by the same researchers in 2010 which suggests obese people are far, far more likely to die in car accidents.
According to that research, a morbidly obese person faces a risk of fatality in a crash that’s increased by 56 per cent — for those moderately obese, the risk of death is increased by 21 per cent.
Interestingly, underweight and normal-sized drivers were slightly more likely to die in a crash than drivers defined as just “overweight”, ostensibly because they often sit too close to the steering wheel and don’t have added mass for protection.
Back then, the researchers called for seats to be made more adjustable to accommodate different sizes of people, as well as for manufacturers to start using obese dummies in crash tests — a call likely to be repeated in this week’s report.
Another solution, of course, would be for the population in developed countries to begin to slim down, and not just for the safety benefits.
Research conducted in 2006 by the University of Illinois suggested that in the US, drivers consume at least a billion gallons more gas that they would if the population was as trim as it was in the 1960s.
For every additional pound of weight, the US uses up another 39 million gallons of fuel — enough to make anybody get out and walk. — AFP-Relaxnews