CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Studies show that, due to seat belt designs, obese people have higher chances of injury in frontal crashes. Researchers at the University of Virginia are working on designing a seat belt that would accommodate people of all sizes.
Seat belts were designed for the average male, who is 5-foot-9 and around 170 pounds.
For obese people, studies show seat belts may not be big enough, which leads people to slide forward during a crash causing a higher risk for injury.
Knee injuries, from sliding forward into the dash or steering wheel, are commonly associated with frontal crashes.
Hamed Joodaki, a PhD candidate for mechanical engineering at the UVA Center for Applied Biomechanics, is conducting research into a more effect seat belt for all.
He has been using hundreds of computer-modeled crash test simulations designed to recreate a crash involving an obese occupant.
Joodaki's goal has been to better understand why this has been occurring to larger people and how to change it.
He has been working on designing seat belts that will be able to factor in a person's size and weight while driving.
Joodaki hopes to complete his research by the end of 2019.
When finished, he plans on publishing his findings in academic journals where fellow engineers can expand on his work, and he hopes to one day change how seat belts work forever.