Vehicle seat belts not designed for overweight people
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/01/2013 -- Obesity is a major health concern in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that one third, or 35.7%, of adults in the U.S. are considered obese. Not only does this cause major problems with the human body, but it may also have a large effect on fatal car accidents.
University of California-Berkeley health economist Thomas M. Rice and University of West Virginia epidemiologist Motao Zhu researched the fatalities in car accidents and found that an obese person is more likely to be killed in an automobile accident than a normal weight person.
The findings of this research show that a normal weight person, or an individual with a Body Mass Index of 18.5 to 24.9, would be more likely to survive an automobile accident because the seat belts of a car are designed to stop when they are pushed against by a hard object such as a pelvic bone or the sternum and shoulders. When it comes to an obese person, there is more soft tissue between the solid points and the seat belt which makes the belt less effective during an automobile accident.
One of the issues that need to be addressed is the vehicle manufacturers and the design of their vehicles. There needs to be a design for all vehicles that will be compatible with every body type. That is a main reason for fatalities in car accidents when they involve obese people. Automobile companies need to come up with a plane for safety in their vehicles that will protect all passengers, from the underweight to the obese. With this fact taken into consideration, the automobile companies could save many lives.
Rice and Zhu, came to the same conclusion when saying, “The ability of passenger vehicles to protect overweight or obese occupants may have increasingly important public health implications, given the continuing obesity epidemic in the USA. It may be the case that passenger vehicles are well designed to protect normal weight vehicle occupants but are deficient in protecting overweight or obese occupants.”
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