Obese drivers are more likely to die in car crashes than other motorists, scientists have found.
Research shows fat people are propelled further forward during a collision because of their additional soft tissue, which prevents a seat belt from tightening immediately against the pelvis.
Scientists believe car design may have to change to protect overweight drivers. The authors of the study, from the University of California and the University of West Virginia, found that overweight drivers were 80 per cent more likely to die in a crash than others.
Offering a possible explanation for their findings, the scientists referred to collision research which showed how the bodies of fat drivers were flung further forwards during a car crash than those of other motorists.
They concluded: "Education is needed to improve seat belt use among obese people."
The findings were published in the Emergency Medicine Journal.