Fatter crash-test dummies are All About That Bass (no traffic)

Crash-test dummies may have it tough, but they'll at least get to ignore their diet for a while, with fatter Americans leading safety kit specialists to boost the size of the fake drivers and passengers used for collision testing. Dummy maker Humanetics is adding more than 100 pounds to its adult model, taking it to 270 pounds in total and a body mass index of 35, making them morbidly obese. The decision comes after research found that not only is the average American getting bigger, but that obese people run more of risk of injury in the case of a crash.

Obese drivers are, in fact, 78-percent more likely to die in a collision, Humanetics CEO told ABC News. The company is the only US manufacturer of dummies used in testing.

Weight isn't the only factor at play here; in fact, it's more important as to where the extra heft is carried. For instance, the gradually increasing American car-driving audience is generally putting on mass around their waist and buttocks.

There, it can significantly change how seats and safety belts fit. "An obese person has more mass around midsection and a larger rear which pushes them out of position," Humanetics' Chris O'Connor suggested. "They sit further forward and the belt does not grasp the pelvis as easily."

Official opinion on whether larger drivers are at greater risk is mixed, with some arguing that the risks in the car are not as pronounced as O'Connor suggests.

However, there are comorbid factors in play, such as increased difficulty in treating larger patients, equipment carried by emergency services being intended for lighter or smaller people, and even other a proclivity to other conditions interfering with medical aid.

Humanetics expects the larger crash-test dummies to debut in trials later this year, before being made more broadly available to testing institutions in 2015. It's unclear whether the NHTSA will mandate the use of the fatter models.

The current adult dummies in general use weigh in at 167 pounds.