Obese drivers less likely to buckle up: study

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Buffalo, NY – Normal-weight drivers are 67 percent more likely to use their safety belts than morbidly obese motorists, according to a study from the University of Buffalo. Morbidly obese drivers were defined as having a body mass index of 40 or more.

Researchers analyzed data from 336,913 passenger vehicle drivers who were involved in a fatal crash between 2003 and 2009. They suggested that obese drivers may find it difficult to buckle a standard safety belt, and recommended vehicle manufacturers investigate methods of making safety belt use easier for obese people, who represent almost one-third of the U.S. population.

The study is scheduled to be presented May 10 at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

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