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A computational study of injury severity and pattern sustained by overweight drivers in frontal motor vehicle crashes. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin 2014;17(9):965-77 PMID: 23113549 PMCID: PMC4494790

Pubmed ID





The objective of this study was to examine the role of body mass and subcutaneous fat in injury severity and pattern sustained by overweight drivers. Finite element models were created to represent the geometry and properties of subcutaneous adipose tissue in the torso with data obtained from reconstructed magnetic resonance imaging data-sets. The torso adipose tissue models were then integrated into the standard multibody dummy models together with increased inertial parameters and sizes of the limbs to represent overweight occupants. Frontal crash simulations were carried out considering a variety of occupant restraint systems and regional body injuries were measured. The results revealed that differences in body mass and fat distribution have an impact on injury severity and pattern. Even though the torso adipose tissue of overweight subjects contributed to reduce abdominal injury, the momentum effect of a greater body mass of overweight subjects was more dominant over the cushion effect of the adipose tissue, increasing risk of other regional body injuries except abdomen. Through statistical analysis of the results, strong correlations (p < 0.01) were found between body mass index and regional body injuries except neck injury. The analysis also revealed that a greater momentum of overweight males leads to greater forward torso and pelvic excursions that account for higher risks (p < 0.001) of head, thorax and lower extremity injury than observed in non-overweight males. The findings have important implications for improving the vehicle and occupant safety systems designed for the increasing global obese population.

Author List

Kim JE, Kim IH, Shum PC, Shih AM, Pintar F, Shen W, Ma X, Laud PW, Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Zhu S


Purushottam W. Laud PhD Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Frank A. Pintar PhD Chair, Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Medical College of Wisconsin


2-s2.0-84898489893   6 Citations

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Accidents, Traffic
Biomechanical Phenomena
Body Mass Index
Computer Simulation
Finite Element Analysis
Wounds and Injuries
jenkins-FCD Prod-321 98992d628744e349846c2f62ac68f241d7e1ea70