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Study Says Obese Are 80% More Likely To Die In A Car Crash

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According to a study of data accumulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), obese drivers have a higher probability of dying in a car crash than those who are of normal weight. In fact, their chances of death in an accident are 80% higher than those who weigh less.

Transport safety researchers Thomas Rice and Motao Zhu related their findings in an online publication of the Emergency Medicine Journal.

Since one out of every three American adults is considered to be obese, this new study is alarming. Interestingly, the study revealed that obese females were at an even higher risk of being a car crash fatality than their male counterparts.

Time will only tell whether this study will invoke changes by automobile manufacturers to make vehicles safer for obese drivers.

The study that covered a 12 year period from 1996 to 2008, examined 57,500 car crashes. The data included all of the deaths that occurred within 30 days of the accidents.

One finding illustrated the fact that obese vehicle occupants in general had a host of other health problems that reduced the probability of surviving a serious injury. The other finding was that seat belts do not properly interact with the human body when one is obese. Simply put, the lower body of an obese driver continues to go forward in a crash while the upper body is held back. This is because the excess padding and abdominal fat cause a delay in the time it takes to tighten against the pelvis.

Obesity was determined by body mass index (BMI). A BMI of 30 and over is considered to be obese. A BMI of 18.5 is considered to be normal.

Some conclusions reached were:

• A driver with a BMI of 30 to 34.9 was 21% more likely to die in a crash than a driver with a normal BMI.

• A driver with a BMI of 35 to 39.9 was 51% more likely to die in a crash than a driver with a normal BMI.

• A driver with a BMI of 40 or higher was 80% more likely to die in a crash than a driver with a normal BMI.

Another finding in the study was that underweight men were more likely to die in a crash than those with a normal BMI. Underweight men were those with a BMI of less than 18.5.


If you or a family member have suffered from serious personal injuries or lost loved ones as a result of car crashes or accidents involving 18 wheelers, you need to talk to a Texas lawyer who is experienced in handling wrongful death cases.

Carabin & Shaw is a San Antonio law firm with offices throughout the state. For over 20 years we have helped thousands of Texans recover money for their serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of loved ones. Let our experienced team of lawyers and staff work for you.

Contact us through our website or call us in San Antonio at (210) 222-2288 or toll free at (800) 862-1260, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

With our firm, you will never have to pay a fee unless we get you a settlement.

Other Resources:

Obese Drivers May Be More Likely to Die in Car Crashes, US News, Article by Steven Reinberg, January 22, 2013
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