In a new paper to be published next month (Influence of obesity on mortality of drivers in severe motor vehicle crashes) Dr. Dietrich Jehle finds that obese drivers make up a disproportionate number of automobile fatalities.
Might one simple explanation be that fat people drive more than their more physically-active counterparts? It isn’t clear from reading the abstract whether researchers considered this possibility. Instead, Dr. Jehle hypothesizes that seat belts and airbags are not tested for plus-sized adults.
“Crash test dummies have saved lives and provided invaluable data on how human bodies react to crashes, but they are designed to represent normal-weight individuals. If they represented our overweight American society, there could be further improvements in vehicle design that could decrease mortality.”
Needless to say, his proposed solution does not involve crash diets.
He argues that crash test dummies should be ‘super-sized’ to reflect our rotund reality. And cars would be re-designed to accommodate super-sized drivers.
Dr Jehle said extending the range of adjustable seats and encouraging obese people to buy larger cars with more space between the seat and the steering column could save lives. ‘The rate of obesity is continuing to rise, so is it imperative that car designs are modified to protect the obese population, and that crash tests are done using a full range of dummy sizes,’ he added.
This country already suffers from an overabundance of SUV’s, to recommend supersized car designs as a health measure would be stupid and ironic. At the rate we are going, cars of the future will come standard with insulin pumps and heart monitors.