Dr Jehle computed each victimís Body Mass Index and categorized them as underweight, normal, overweight, slightly obese, moderately obese, and morbidly obese. The result of the study showed that in a severe accident, moderately obese people face a 21 percent greater risk of death and morbidly obese people are 56 percent more likely to die than those who weigh less.
"The severity and patterns of crash injuries depend on a complex interaction of biomechanical factors, including deceleration velocity at impact, seat belt and air bag use, vehicle type and weight, and type of impact," says Dr. Dietrick Jehle, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine.
"The rate of obesity is continuing to rise, so it is imperative that car designs are modified to protect the obese population, and that crash tests are done using a full range of dummy sizes," Dr Jehle added.
Current cars are designed to protect occupants with normal weight, which means that safety systems like airbags and seatbelts might be less effective in protecting overweight drivers in the event of an accident. Hence, for bigger-sized driver, rather than waiting for new safety systems to be developed, it could be a better choice to walk or cycle to your next destination.