Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Obese much more likely to die in car crashes than normal weight drivers, U.S. study finds

Date:
January 21, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Obese drivers are significantly more likely to die in a road traffic collision than people of normal weight, according to a new U.S. study.

Obese drivers are significantly more likely to die in a road traffic collision than people of normal weight, indicates US research published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

The findings prompt the researchers to consider whether car design might need to change to afford greater protection to the considerable proportion of obese people in the population -- currently around a third of all US adults.

The researchers used data from the US Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for 1996 to 2008. This is operated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and records all fatalities arising within 30 days of a traffic collision.

During this period, details of 57,491 road traffic collisions were submitted to the system.

The researchers looked for collisions in which two passenger vehicles were involved, and for which the impact of the crash was the most harmful component of the incident, resulting in the deaths of one or both drivers.

They also looked for collisions in which both parties had been driving vehicles of similar size and type. They selected 3,403 pairs of drivers for whom data on weight, age, seat belt use and airbag deployment were available.

Almost half of these drivers (46%) were of normal weight; one in three was overweight; and almost one in five (18%) were obese.

Two thirds were male, and almost one in three was aged between 16 and 24; one in three was not using a seat belt properly -- lap or shoulder only, rather than both -- and in over half (53%) of cases, the airbag deployed.

The analysis showed that risk of death increased the more obese the driver was, according to the World Health Organization classification, which categorises obesity from levels I to III.

At level I, obese drivers were 21% more likely to die; at level II they were 51% more likely to do so; and at level III they were 80% more likely to do so than drivers of normal weight.

When broken down by gender, obese women were at even greater risk. At level I they were 36% more likely to die; at level II they were more than twice as likely to do so; and at level III they were almost twice as likely to die.

Interestingly underweight men were also more likely to die in a collision than their normal weight peers.

There were no significant differences among different types of vehicle, collision or use of seat belts, although almost a third of drivers who sustained a fatal injury were not properly belted.

The authors point to other research, showing that the lower body of obese drivers is propelled further forward on impact before the seatbelt engages the pelvis, because of the additional soft tissue which prevents the belt from fitting snugly, while the upper body is held back.

They also suggest that obese drivers may be more likely to have underlying health problems, which may contribute to their greater risk of death. But car design may need to change, they venture.

"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," they write. And they add: "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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. M. Rice, M. Zhu. Driver obesity and the risk of fatal injury during traffic collisions. Emergency Medicine Journal, 2013; DOI: 10.1136/emermed-2012-201859

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Obese much more likely to die in car crashes than normal weight drivers, U.S. study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130121192053.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, January 21). Obese much more likely to die in car crashes than normal weight drivers, U.S. study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130121192053.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Obese much more likely to die in car crashes than normal weight drivers, U.S. study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130121192053.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins