The Emergency Medicine Journal has published findings that obesity increases the risk of dying in a car accident when compared to slimmer drivers and passengers. Studies indicate that obese people tend to slide forward more during a car accident because the additional soft tissue around the abdominal area prevents the seat belt from tightening as quickly as it should. This extra forward sliding motion increases the risk of a fatality occurring.
A study conducted by Thomas M. Rice and Motao Zhu analyzed the data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Rice and Zhu reduced the data to show only the fatalities that listed driver’s license information pertaining to height and weight in order to determine the BMI of each person. The obese drivers showed a significantly higher risk of death with:
- A 21 percent increase for those with a BMI of 30 to 34.9
- A 51 percent increase for those with a BMI of 35 to 35.9
- An astounding 80 percent increase for those with a BMI of 40 or more
The study also indicated that obese women are at the greatest risk of dying in a car accident, twice as likely as obese men.