Being obese might make car crashes more dangers according to a new study that suggests seriously overweight drivers sustain worse injuries and are more likely to be involved in collisions.
“Poor car-to-person fit is thought to be the leading cause of the increased risk of injury and fatality in (motor vehicle collisions) for persons who are obese or overweight versus persons who are normal weight,” said the analysis, published in the Journal of Transportation Safety & Security.
The study said drivers with body mass indexes above 30 are more likely to suffer injuries to the face, head, upper chest and spine than those below that number.
“For all those individuals that have a body structure different than (the nominal standard) their interactions with the safety features, such as the seat belts and airbags, may not occur as intended,” it said.
But that shouldn’t really come as a surprise. A user should never expect something to perform normally if its limits are exceeded. The question then becomes what those limits are. In this study’s case, the weight that safety devices like seat belts and airbags are suggested to be built for is around 165 lbs.
The study goes on to suggest that automakers, not individuals, should be held accountable for accommodating passengers with larger volume. Ultimately that brings into question how far someone should be able to push the reasonable limits of vehicle safety equipment.