SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) — A new study claims that obesity could not only increase a driver’s risk of being in a car accident, but also result in more severe injuries.
The study, conducted by Canadian scientists at the University of Laval and published in the Journal of Transportation Safety & Security, claimed that morbidly obese drivers may be at increased risk of a crash due to weight-related health complications.
Additionally, car designs that are less than sympathetic to larger frames could leave obese drivers in more critical condition following an accident.
“Poor car-to-person fit is thought to be the leading cause of the increased risk of injury and fatality in [car accidents] for [people] who are obese or overweight versus [people] who are normal weight,” a portion of the study published by the Ottawa Citizen read.
The study continued, “For all those individuals that have a body structure different than [the standard used in designing cars], their interactions with the safety features, such as the seat belts and airbags, may not occur as intended.”
Many cars are reportedly designed with a 163-pound person in mind.
Researchers additionally claim that carmakers should try to design vehicles whose safety features are more adjustable, in order to provide protection for a broader range of drivers.
Several previous studies were also examined in the process, including one which found that found men with body mass indexes greater than 30 were more likely to suffer facial, spinal, head and upper chest injuries in a collision than those with BMIs below 30.
Another study reportedly referenced by University of Laval’s medical researchers found that 800,000 drivers in the America with obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea were involved in illness-related car accidents in the year 2000, which supported their claims that obesity-related ailments also contribute to road hazards.