NEW YORK, May 7 — Obese drivers are putting themselves at risk by refusing to buckle up, a team of scientists will warn this week.
A new study from the University of Buffalo in New York, to be presented May 10 at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine in Chicago, has found that obese drivers are far less likely to wear seatbelts than drivers with a normal weight.
The study suggested that a normal weight individual is 67 per cent more likely to wear a seatbelt than a morbidly obese driver, after studying over 300,000 accidents held in a US government database.
Interestingly, Professor Dietrich Jehle’s team found that the relationship was linear — the more obese a person is, the less likely they were to wear a seatbelt.
With obesity levels in many developed countries rising (one third of the US population is estimated to be obese), the study is likely to prompt new approaches to buckling up.
“The question is: Is there something we can do to cars to make them safer for the obese? How can we make it more likely for people, including the overweight or obese, to wear seatbelts?” commented Jehle.
It is not an easy question, although researchers have hypothesized that obese people could find current seatbelt systems uncomfortable or difficult to buckle — something reasonably easily solved by the use of a seatbelt extension. — AFP/Relaxnews