Fat crash test dummies are needed to keep up with hefty America

Americans are getting taller and fatter, and carmakers say it's time to give the decades old crash test dummy a make over.

Right now the standard dummy is 5-foot-9 and weighs 170 pounds. Chris O'Connor who runs Humanetics, the leading maker of crash test dummies, says the new dummy weighs about 100 pounds more and is a few inches taller.

O'Connor said:

"Auto safety is based on what we measure. We need to have a test device that reflects that growing population change."

Stewart Wang from the University of Michigan's International Center for Automotive Medicine says heavier people sustain "more severe, lower extremity injuries:"

"Safety features, the airbags and most importantly the seatbelts are designed around those dummies."

O'Connor and Wang are also developing dummies to accurately reflect older, more fragile drivers.

Read more at CBS News.

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