Obese Crash Test Dummies Are A Bigger, Better Reflection Of Society

Drivers may be getting bigger but that additional padding around the waistline isn't helping them survive an auto accident – just the opposite, in fact. The alarming stats have spurred Humanetics, the world's leading producer of crash test dummies, to develop a new range of obese models.

Hybrid III, the current standard crash test dummy for frontal crash tests, was introduced in 1976 and has since been joined by one female and two child dummies. “He” stands 5' 9" tall and weighs 172 lbs (78 kg), considered average for the time. More recently, Humanetics introduced a “Big Brother” model that is 6'2" tall and weighs 223 lbs (100 kg).

Now it seems that Big Brother isn't big enough so Humanetics has developed a new model which will weigh about 273 pounds and have a body mass index of 35 (“normal” BMIs as rated by WHO range from from 18.5 to 25).

In an interview with CNN, Christopher O'Connor, president and CEO of Humanetics, explained that larger dummies were designed after reports indicated that obese people are 78% more likely that non-obese people to suffer fatal injuries in a crash. “The reason is the way we get fat,” states O'Connor. “We get fat in our middle range. And we get out of position in a typical seat.”

The use of more representative crash dummies will allow automakers and safety regulators to better predict the type of injuries obese people are prone to in vehicle crashes. The logical next step is designing safety features which will better protect obese drivers and passengers.

Testing of the new obese dummies is already underway in Europe and according to O'Connor, testing is expected to commence in the U.S. early in 2015. (via Consumerist, Newsweek, Before It's News, and Discovery News)