Tags: obese | seat | belt | buckle | accident

Obese Tend to Avoid Seatbelts

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 12:18 PM

Obese drivers are far less likely to buckle up than their normal-weight peers, according to a new University at Buffalo study that appears to explain why heavier motorists are more likely to suffer severe injury or death in a crash.
The UB study, to be presented at an upcoming meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine in Chicago, found that average-weight drivers are 67 percent more likely to wear a seatbelt than morbidly obese motorists.
"It's clear that not wearing a seatbelt is associated with a higher chance of death," said lead author Dr. Dietrich Jehle, an emergency medicine specialist at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and associate medical director at Erie County Medical Center. "We hypothesized that obese drivers were less likely to wear seatbelts than their normal weight counterparts. Obese drivers may find it more difficult to buckle up a standard seatbelt."
In 2010, the same UB researchers identified obesity as a risk factor for death in a study of 155,584 drivers involved in severe auto crashes. They found obese individuals are 56 percent more likely to die in a crash than individuals of normal weight.
The results of the new study are based on data from the national Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Researchers examined factors in severe and fatal crashes involving 336,913 drivers.
"We found that the relationship between the amount of obesity and seatbelt use was linear; the more obese the driver, the less likely that seatbelts were used," said Jehle.
"The question is: Is there something we can do to cars to make them safer for the obese? How can we make it more likely for people, including the overweight or obese, to wear seatbelts?"

© HealthDay

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Failure to buckle up may explain why obese drivers suffer more severe injuries and deaths in crashes.
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 12:18 PM
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