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New crash test dummies take obesity into account

We know a lot about car accidents thanks to ongoing statistics that are collected nationwide. It's safe to say that the main reason behind all the number crunching is safety. Automakers and government agencies want to know the who, what, where, when and why of car crashes. This information often leads to changes which then lead to safer roadways. It seems to be working, if you consider that car accident deaths are at historic lows in our country.

One method of testing vehicle safety is the well-known use of crash test dummies. According to the CEO of Humanetics, which leads in dummy production worldwide, the most current dummies have more than 130 channels of information. A recent news article revealed that the company is working on an obese dummy "to accommodate the increasing number of overweight drivers." 

Statistics show that people who are obese are 78 percent more likely to perish in a car accident. The company's CEO pointed out that it has to do with the way the fat is distributed; it apparently puts people "out of position in a typical seat."

The hope is that these new dummies will eventually help make vehicles safer. While weight may be one factor in a person's probability to die in a crash, it is definitely not the only one. Statistics also show that the risk of being seriously injured in a crash increases with age.

It's always nice to know that agencies are working to develop new testing methods in hopes of keeping drivers in California and through the nation safe. Unfortunately, even the safest car may not protect a driver against someone who gets on the road and decides to drive negligently.

Source: CNN, "Are obese crash test dummies the key to preventing road deaths?" Kieron Monks and Nick Glass, Oct. 30, 2014

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