Study Claims Obese Drivers in Illinois and Nationwide are More Likely to Die in Auto Crashes

A new study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal suggests that overweight and obese drivers are more likely to be killed in a traffic wreck. Because about 33 percent of adults in the United States are now considered obese, the results of the study could prompt automobile manufacturers to re-evaluate the design of new vehicles in the future.

As part of the study, researchers reportedly analyzed data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System between 1996 and 2008. The system was allegedly established to collect information regarding all traffic fatalities throughout the United States. During the time period analyzed, more than 57,000 fatal traffic collisions were reported across the country. After taking into account factors such as vehicle size, driver weight, age, and safety belt use, the study authors selected more than 3,400 pairs of substantially similar drivers for comparison.

About half of the motorists evaluated by researchers were considered a normal weight. In addition, about 33 percent were considered overweight and 18 percent were considered obese according to World Health Organization standards. Two thirds of the deceased drivers were reportedly male and nearly one-third were between the ages of 16 and 24. About one-third of motorists were not utilizing a seat belt appropriately and an airbag deployed in a little more than half of the crashes analyzed.

Researchers reportedly found that the likelihood of death increased based upon the obesity level of a driver. Motorists with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 35 were allegedly 21 percent more likely to die in a traffic wreck than their normal weight peers. The risk increased to 51 percent for individuals with a BMI between 35 and 40, and an astonishing 80 percent for drivers with a BMI that was higher than 40. Obese women were purportedly at an even greater risk of dying in a crash than obese men. Researchers also found that underweight men were more likely to die in a collision than a normal weight driver.

According to study authors, there was not a significant difference in fatality rates based on crash or vehicle type. Researchers reportedly believe the difference in death rates may result from the way seat belts restrain obese motorists. Study authors suggest that in the future both vehicle manufacturers and crash safety testing should better take into account the safety needs of overweight and obese drivers.

In the Chicago Metro, we often spend a lot of time in our cars. Even under the best of circumstances, unexpected collisions are bound to occur. Traffic wrecks may be caused by many factors including driver inattention, carelessness, or impairment. Additionally, inclement weather, hazardous road conditions, motor vehicle defects, and a number of other factors can cause an accident. Even if you were partly to blame for a car accident, you may be eligible to receive damages for any injuries or medical expenses that you incurred as a result of a crash. In addition, if you lost someone you love in a traffic wreck you may also be entitled to recover for wrongful death. Contact a skilled Chicago car accident attorney to discuss your case.

If you were hurt or lost a relative in a motor vehicle wreck, you should contact the hardworking lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our knowledgeable Chicago car accident attorneys are available every day of the week to answer your questions and help you file your personal injury or wrongful death case. Our dedicated lawyers have years of experience advocating on behalf of clients who were hurt by a negligent driver throughout the Chicago Metro. To speak with a competent personal injury attorney today, please give Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596. You may also contact us through the law firm’s website.

More Blogs:

Research Claims Drivers in Illinois and Across the Continent are More Likely to be Hurt in a Crash While Taking High Doses of Opioid Painkillers, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 26, 2013
Three Killed, One Critically Injured in Crash in Chicago’s Roseland Neighborhood, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 24, 2013
Additional Resources:

Obese drivers face greater risk of death than normal weight drivers,


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