PLYMOUTH, Mich., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Car safety is a weighty problem, so crash-test dummies are packing on pounds to help protect heavier Americans in automobile crashes.
The average dummy used in car crash tests currently weighs about 167 pound with the equivalent of a healthy human body mass-to-fat ratio. But Humanetics in Michigan, the maker of U.S dummies, is now designing dummies that will weigh 270 pounds with a body mass index placing them in the morbidly obese category. The change is critical to determine how best to improve safety for larger Americans in car crashes when most protective features are made for thinner people, say company officials. Moderately obese people face a 21 percent higher risk of death in crashes, while those morbidly obese are 56 percent more likely to die, research has found.