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Researchers say safety features don't protect all shapes and sizes

A recent study found a connection between how much a person weighs and their chances of suffering from severe injuries if in a motor vehicle accident. This study also backs up earlier studies that found a similar connection between higher body mass indexes and serious car accident injuries.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Transportation Safety & Security, found those who are considered obese have an increased risk of being in a crash. Additionally, those who are overweight are also more likely to be in critical condition after an accident due in part to the fact that cars are not designed with the bigger person in mind. In fact, the person in mind weighs 163 pounds.

What this means is that many safety features, like seat belts and air bags, may not offer the same type of protection to a person who is overweight or obese. Due to this, researchers involved in this most recent study claim automakers need to try and design cars that have more adjustable safety features to better protect all sizes and shapes of drivers and passengers.

In addition to this poor car-to-driver or passenger fit, an earlier study also found those with body mass indexes greater than 30 were more likely to end up with upper chest, facial, head and spine injuries in an accident.

Lastly, while it's unknown what the numbers are like today, in 2000 there were an estimated 800,000 drivers in the United States with obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea who were in motor vehicle accidents. This information was used to support the claim that obesity-related illnesses contribute to the chance of being in an accident.

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