A new study conducted by Canadian scientists at the University of Laval says that obesity could not only increase a driver's risk of being in a vehicle crash but also result in more severe injuries.
Published in the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security, the study claimed that morbidly obese drivers may be at increased risk of a crash due to weight-related health complications.
The study also says that because most vehicle designs are less than sympathetic or accommodating to large motorists and large frames that often leaves 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 for people who are obese or overweight versus people who are a normal weight", the study noted.
Additionally, it said that for all those individuals who have a body structure different than the standard used in designing passenger vehicles, their interactions with the safety features such as safety belts and airbags may not occur as intended. In its report on the study, the Ottawa Citizen noted that many vehicles are reportedly designed with a 163-pound person in mind.
Consequently, the scientists asserted that carmakers should try to design vehicles whose safety features are more adjustable in order to provide maximum protection for a broader range of drivers and body types.
Related research that was reviewed in this process found that men with body mass indexes greater than 30 were more likely to suffer facial, spinal, head and chest injuries.
Clearly, more ergonomic design increases safety for all. Fortunately, more automakers are devoting a great deal of research to helping motorists manage health issues that could directly impact driving safety and we've reported specifically on Ford's efforts for people with heart conditions and diabetes.
What do you think? Is your car a good fit for you?