CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) – Studies have shown that because of the design of safety belts, people with obesity have a greater chance of injury in frontal crashes. Researchers at the University of Virginia are working on designing a seat belt to accommodate people of all sizes.
Seat belts are designed for the average man who is 5 feet high and about 170 pounds.
For obese people, studies have shown that seat belts may not be large enough to cause people to slide forward during a crash, resulting in a greater risk of injury.
Knee injuries, from sliding forward to the dashboard or steering wheel, are usually associated with frontal crashes.
Hamed Hudadaki, PhD student at the Applied Biomechanics Center UVA, is conducting research on a more effective belt for all.
He has used hundreds of computer-simulated crash tests designed to recreate a catastrophe involving an obese occupant.
Joodaki's goal is to better understand why this happens to older people and how to change it.
He has worked on designing seat belts that can influence the size and weight of a person while driving.
Judahi hopes to complete his study by the end of 2019.
When he finished, he plans to publish his findings in academic journals, where fellow engineers can expand their work and hopes one day to change the way belts work.