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Next-gen car crash-test dummies will be fatter. Here's why

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According to the CDC, more than one-third of all Americans are obese. The implications of the larger waistlines in the United States affects, not only quality of life for the individual - increasing their chances of heart disease and osteoporosis for starters - but with the new figures and poundage of the average American so drastically increased, other crucial industries which you may not have even thought might be affected are making important life-saving changes.

Humanetics, a company that produces crash test dummies for use in vehicle collision tests, is coming up with new adult sized models with over 100 pounds more weight over their conventional model. In addition to the extra weight, the heft of the new dummies was also taken into consideration - concentrating the bulk of the added mass onto the belly and rear end.

The new adult sized crash test dummies are extremely important for the accuracy of the tests being conducted for the collision tests of new vehicles and safety systems.

Chris O' Connor, the CEO of Humanetics, shared in an interview that current dummies used for testing are 167 pounds and reflect the body of a healthy individual. Many safety systems currently in place are only specifically designed for people of that figure - not the average American.

"Seat belts, air bags and other safety features have all been designed for thinner people and don't fit larger people in the same way. An obese person has more mass around midsection and a larger rear which pushes them out of position. They sit further forward and the belt does not grasp the pelvis as easily," he said.

Given that studies have also shown that bigger drivers are more likely to get into road accidents, the new obese crash test dummies are important for car manufacturers and safety experts to use in order to ensure the safety of their drivers.

Humanetics expects their larger crash test dummies to become available by next year. 

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