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Obesity and the Risk of Auto Accident Injuries – St. Louis Law Firm

Obesity has an adverse effect not only on your health but on your safety as well.

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Being overweight can increase your risk of being in an auto accident and suffering serious injuries, according to a study published in the Journal of Transportation Safety & Security.

How Obesity Affects Driver Safety

It is believed that obese drivers are more likely to suffer from serious health conditions that may impair their driving ability or come on suddenly while they are driving. The study shows that obese drivers may also suffer additional injuries in the event of a crash, because of the way most vehicles are designed. Most safety features inside cars, including airbags and safety belts, are designed for up to 163 pounds. Those who weigh significantly more than this may not have complete protection and may suffer severe injuries in a car accident that would otherwise not cause serious injuries to a person of average weight.

Car Accident Fatality Statistics

Research conducted by UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation and Research Education Center (SafeTREC), shows that obese drivers are almost 78 percent more likely to get killed in a car accident compared to normal-weight drivers. Considering the increasing rate of obesity in the U.S., the ability of vehicles to protect obese occupants may have important public health implications, according to the researchers. Researchers reviewed accident data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). From a total of 41,283 collisions, the researchers selected the ones that involved vehicles of the same size. Researchers then gathered height and weight data from the drivers’ licenses to categorize the drivers in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI). They also recorded information on the time of day of the crash, seat belt use, driver alcohol use, driver sex, collision type, and airbag deployment.

Drivers with a BMI under 18 or in the range of 25-29.9 has the same death rate as a driver of normal weight, while among overweight drivers, the higher the BMI, the higher the risk of death in a crash. Those with a BMI in the range of 30-34.9 had a 21 percent higher risk of fatality and those with 35-39.9 had a 51 percent higher risk. Drivers with BMI above 40 were at an 81 percent higher risk of death in a car accident. Researchers also noted that obese women are more likely to die in a car accident compared to obese men. (For more information – St. Louis Fatal Car Accident Attorney)

St. Louis Car Crash Attorneys

If you or your loved one has suffered injuries in a car crash, discuss your case with a St. Louis car crash attorney. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

Updated: January 11, 2021