The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute recently published a study stating that obese drivers could be safer than non-obese drivers involved in car accidents, as long as they are wearing seat belts.
The study revealed that found that belted male drivers who are obese (those with a Body Mass Index between 35 and 50) have a 22 percent lower probability of being killed if involved in a fatal car crash than belted male drivers who are underweight (those with a BMI between 15 and 18.4).
However, the opposite is true for unbelted males, they say. The probability of being killed is 10 percent higher for unbelted male drivers with a BMI between 35 and 50, compared to those with a BMI between 15 and 18.4.
Our findings suggest that for increasing BMI, the optimal balance between the positive effects of extra cushioning and negative effects of extra mass and momentum depends on the gender of the driver and the use of safety belts,” said Sivak, research professor and head of UMTRI’s Human Factors Division.
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