'Overweight' crash test dummies being developed in response to U.S. obesity trends

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Thursday, October 30, 2014
New obese crash test dummies are being developed in response to the health shift in the U.S.

One company is taking note of America's obesity issue by manufacturing "overweight" crash test dummies.

Humanetics is a Plymouth, Michigan-based company that has been developing crash test dummies since the 1950s. But the image and model of a crash test dummy hasn't changed much throughout those decades, so now Humanetics is developing a heftier crash test dummy to better represent growing obesity trends in the U.S.

"Obese people are 78 percent more likely to die in a crash," Humanetics CEO Chris O' Connor told CNN. "The reason is the way we get fat. We get fat in our middle range. And we get out of position in a typical seat."

Humanetics' obese dummy will weigh in at 273 pounds with a body mass index of 35. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute classifies obesity as those with a body mass index of 30. According to the CDC, over one-third of Americans are obese.