March 2016 Newsletter

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Obesity And How It Affects The Outcome In Collisions Involving An Obese Driver or Passengers.

By Chris Jarratt of Bariquins (Mar 2016)


I was interested in a recent article that I had discovered and then tweeted on the @bariquins account. It concerned a study which concluded that obese drivers were more likely to die in road traffic collisions. Stats were gathered from fatal collisions between 1999 and 2012 in the US. Although records were available for over 750,000 fatal crashes, of which obesity information was held for over half a million fatals, the study concentrated on obese drivers of passenger cars. This still amounted to nearly 300,000 fatalities.


Significantly Higher Risks of Fatality.


            Analysis of this large bank of figures found that, compared to non-obese drivers, the obese driver had ‘significantly higher risks of fatality’ in a collision.

Further findings established that obese drivers were also a significantly higher risk for

  • not using their seat belt
  • for needing extraction after the collision
  • for a greater ambulance transport time

Factors which, when added together, explains the reason for the higher risk of fatality.


Another study has shown that as the weight of the person increases, the chances of dying does too. Severely obese people (with a BMI of 35-39.9) were 51% more likely to be killed in a collision, while there was an excess risk of 21% chance of dying for obese people with a BMI of 30-34.9 involved in collisions.


            Although the studies use American data where the rate of obesity is 1 in 3 adults compared to the UK’s current rate of 1 in 4, the chances of having to attend and rescue an obese person after a RTC in the UK will become more common. Especially as The Department of Transport predicts that the number of cars on English roads alone, estimated 25 million cars in 2010, will rise. And don’t forget, the above study was conducted on data where the obese driver became the fatality. There will be many instances where although non-fatal, the obese victim is a seriously injured driver or a seriously or fatally injured obese passenger.


            Emergency services attending such collisions will need to deal quickly and efficiently with obese victims, as lost minutes will be the difference between life and death. As everyone knows, practice makes perfect. Training to remove people affected by obesity from accident damaged vehicles will result in quicker extraction, meaning the seriously ill victim can get medical attention sooner and recover quicker.


Studies Used

Driver's Obesity and Road Crash Risks in the United States (2016). Authors: Bhatti JA, Nathens AB, Redelmeier DA

Driver obesity and the risk of fatal injury during traffic collisions (2012). Authors: Thomas M Rice, Motao Zhu

Tags: bariatric, Bariquins, Barry, ambulance, mannequin, manikin, model, dummy, health and safety, fire, emergency, nhs, health service, obese, obesity, fat, plus-size, rescue, paramedic, Training



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