Doctors call for fat crash test dummies after study finds obese are more likely to die in car accidents Last updated at 12:57 PM on 22nd December 2010 Obese drivers are more likely to die if they are involved in a serious car crash than those of normal weight, a study has revealed. Doctors behind the research said it showed an urgent need for the use of overweight crash test dummies. The team of medical experts from the University at Buffalo and Erie County Medical Center found moderately obese drivers had a 21 per cent increased risk of death, while morbidly obese had a 56 per cent increased risk of not surviving. Car manufacturers use normal weight dummies during test crashes. U.S doctors said obese dummies should also be used However, those who were slightly overweight were the most likely to survive rather than people of a normal weight. The researchers analysed more than 150,000 car crashes in the U.S from 2000 to 2005 that involved one or two vehicles. They grouped the drivers based on body mass index - a standard measurement that calculates whether you are within a healthy weight range. The records from the national Fatality Analysis Reporting System database in the U.S, revealed obesity significantly raised a person's risk of dying in a serious car crash. The results were published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Lead author Dr Dietrich Jehle from the University at Buffalo, said: 'The severity and patterns of crash injuries depend on a complex interaction of factors, including deceleration velocity at impact, seat belt and air bag use, vehicle type and weight, and type of impact. 'But the effect of body mass on crash outcome has not been previously evaluated in databases of adequate size or controlled for some of these confounding factors.' Dr Jehle said the results revealed auto manufacturers should include obese dummies in car crash safety tests. 'Crash test dummies have saved lives and provided invaluable data on how human bodies react to crashes, but they are designed to represent normal-weight individuals,' he said. 'If they represented our overweight American society, there could be further improvements in vehicle design that could decrease mortality.' Dr Jehle said extending the range of adjustable seats and encouraging obese people to buy larger cars with more space between the seat and the steering column could save lives. 'The rate of obesity is continuing to rise, so is it imperative that car designs are modified to protect the obese population, and that crash tests are done using a full range of dummy sizes,' he added.