Crash tests will include dummies in the future that are designed to simulate the effects of a collision on obese people.
Humanetics is the world’s leading crash test dummy producer and is constantly working to innovate and develop new dummies that provide manufacturers and regulators with information about what happens to people after a crash. Building obese dummies to account for the increasingly obese U.S. population is one of the company’s latest projects. It currently has one obese dummy that weighs 273 lbs and has a body mass index (BMI) of 35. A BMW between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered to be normal.
“Obese people are 78% more likely to die in a crash,” Humanetics CEO Chris O’ Connor told CNN. “The reason is the way we get fat. We get fat in our middle range and we get out of position in a typical seat.”
But being fat isn’t the only factor placing drivers at an elevated risk for serious injury during a crash. Age also plays a major role. According to the company, serious injuries are 20 percent more likely for 50-year-old drivers and 40 percent more likely for 80-year-olds. Humanetics is developing dummies that simulate the effects of a crash on older drivers and hopes to have a prototype of the model by next year.