Americans getting too fat to drive?

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Americans getting too fat to drive?

Americans getting too fat to drive?

Americans - like their cars - are getting heavier every year. Unfortunately, it seems the tested passenger capacities of the cars they drive are not keeping up. Two-seaters like the Mazda MX-5 and the Chevy Corvette aren't rated to carry two 200lb (91kg) adults - and some, like the Cadillac XLR are just barely rated to carry an average American couple, reports USA Today.

It's not just sporty coupes and roadsters that can't handle the increased girth of their grocery-getting governors. Minivans (or MPVs), SUVs/crossovers, and sedans are all skimping on approved passenger weights. Examples include Acura's TSX, which seats five people, as long as their average weight doesn't exceed 170lb (77kg), and Mazda's CX-7, which sports identical specifications.

Auto makers claim the weight limits are based on a mandatory federal formula that only allots 150lbs (68kg) for each passenger - a number which is clearly unrealistic for the average American. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) determined in 2004 the average American man weighs 190lb (86kg), while his female counterpart weighs 163lb (74kg).

While all of the cars involved can carry more weight than their ratings show, as Honda spokesperson Sage Marie says, automakers "can't be responsible for the vehicle's dynamic characteristics" if the maximum passenger weight is exceeded. Manufacturers reportedly build in a safety margin, though how much is unclear and likely varies between makes and models.

The bottom line: American bums are crossing the line between unhealthy and unsafe.
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Comments (10)
  1. I remember a few years ago there were reports that Japanese automakers had to widen their seats for American imports - thats just sad.

  2. Let's just bash on the Americans?
    The rate for obesity is increasing at a higher rate in England than in the US, but I guess that's not worth mentioning here.
    How about an article that simply states the facts about obese people everywhere and their relation ship to auto safety, rather than just focusing on the "fat, dumb Americans" for a change?

  3. Hi Gus -
    I'm the author of the story, and I'm American. And while obesity may be increasing at a higher rate in the UK, it's already a serious problem here in America. The percentage of those in the U.S. that qualify as overweight or obese is nearing 65%, or more than double the percentage in the U.K, where 30% of people are overweight or obese. Of the 65% mentioned above, almost half are clinically obese. So, in truth, Americans are considerably fatter than Brits.

    America also has about 5x as many inhabitants as the U.K. Combine this with the info above, and the facts about obese people everywhere are, therefore, largely about Americans. Beyond that, America is the largest car market on the planet. So is it really surprising that the article is about Americans? And just to be fair, the only person who said anything about Americans being dumb was you, Gus.

    I appreciate your comments and enthusiasm for the site, however, and don't want to leave you with the impression that I'm being mean or snarky about this. I'm just letting you know that the article was not written with any hostile intent or desire to bash Americans.

  4. Gus dont forget the story was originally from USA Today. We know the majority of people in America are smart, but obesity is becoming a problem for car design. I dont think it\'s a good idea to hide behind political correctness.

  5. All fine and good, but this site is about factual reporting on automotive news, and should leave generalizations about any particular culture, race or religion in the gutter, where it belongs.
    I'd be just as adamant were it an article typecasting Britons, Bolsheviks or Blacks.

  6. Its not a haphazard generalisation about a culture, its a fact. If 65% of americans are overweight or obese then theres no real point in trying to deny the fact that America, on the whole, is more overweight than other countries.

  7. Gus –
    The fact is – Americans are getting fatter and that is effecting the cars that they drive/can’t drive.
    That’s automotive news!
    Face the facts!

  8. That's a fact, but it's also a generalization, and offensive.
    The fact is that cars have a tough time dealing with obese people anywhere in the world, and that's how it should have been written.

  9. Gus,

    What should have happened was for you to get over yourself long before you read this article. You've been presented with the facts and still you keep splitting hairs. Expecting zero "bias" or anything of the like when you read "the news" is a cop-out for the lazy and stupid. Those who can think for themselves focus on what's being said and judge accordingly.. they don't expend their time and energy to quibble over how it was said because their feelings got hurt.

    Tell you what, get your own website and write articles as you see fit. In the mean time, get your ass to the gym if it bothers you that much.

  10. I'm 5-10 and 170 pounds, quite fit, thank you.
    ANd you are still missing the point.
    This is a fact based web site (or at least all the other articles seem to be), and this biased article has no place here.

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