By on October 16, 2010

We are being reminded that one of the few things that still are common to the U.S.  and the UK are their legal system, conveniently called the “common law.” British barristers are looking to American attorneys for new ideas. And here is one of them: If an obese driver dies in a car accident, it’s not her fault. It’s the fault of the manufacturer, who didn’t crash test with overweight crash test dummies.

The Independent in the UK brings us the story that Judith Evans, a Peugeot 107 driver “who weighed almost 16 stone” (that would be 224 lbs), died in a head-on crash with a Vauxhall Vectra on her way home from work on January 20 last year. The matter went to court. The court heard “that Mrs Evans, normally a cautious driver, was traveling on the wrong side of the road and may have suffered a medical accident before the collision.”

But that didn’t matter. What mattered was the weight of Peugeot’s dummies.

Lawyer Robert Horner, representing Mrs Evans’s family, asked Peugeot safety expert Richard Zeitouni: “Have you tested with any dummies more than 78kg?” (171 lbs)

Mr Zeitouni truthfully replied that Peugeot had not. He said Peugeot had tested with “an official dummy, a regulation dummy.”

Barrister Horner is no dummy and had read his ECE rules well.

He asked a question for which he knows the answer: The ECE regulation dummy is the Hybrid III 50th percentile  male dummy that weighs, 77.7 kg, +/- 1.18 kg (that’s 171.3 lbs with a 2.6 lb variance.)

As per USA Code of Federal Regulations (Part 572, Subpart E), that dummy also suffices for more heftier American drivers.

Tough times for Mr. Zeitouni: Would he have said “yes” he would have violated European safety rules, by saying “no” he discriminated against the BBW community.

The matter is still in court, and a Peugeot spokesman wisely said the company has no comment to make at this stage.

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30 Comments on “Next Up: BBW Dummies...”


  • avatar
    JimC

    Cue the lawyer jokes…

  • avatar
    A is A

    “Barrister William Vandyck, representing Peugeot, pointed out that the Vauxhall was heavier than the Peugeot and suggested that a hard part of the Vauxhall hit a soft part of the Peugeot, causing greater crushing of the Peugeot.”
    Small cars are a passive-safety gamble:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu95gB04VC4&feature=related
    This woman gambled her life with a 800kg car, and lost. Bad luck.

    This is the crash test for the Peugeot 107:
    http://www.euroncap.com/tests/citroen_c1_2005/218.aspx
    It is a 4 star car, but a very light one.
    As the IIHS commented:
    “Laws of physics prevail: The Honda Fit, Smart Fortwo, and Toyota Yaris are good performers in the Institute’s frontal offset barrier test, but all three are poor performers in the frontal collisions with midsize cars. These results reflect the laws of the physical universe, specifically principles related to force and distance.”

    • 0 avatar

      These results reflect the laws of the physical universe, specifically principles related to force and distance

      Can we get the 9th District to review this out-dated nonsense? The alleged founder knew nothing of Peugeots nor Yaris when this venue came into being some 4 billion years ago. Alleged founder is known to have had issues with anything heavier than helium.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    All I can say looking at that picture is, “Yes please.”

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I saw this painting, by Peter Paul Reubens, in the Lichtenstein Art Museum a couple of years ago … I remember the card explaning the painting said that Reubens had incorporated a cruciform image (i.e. cross) in the back of the woman (formed by her spine, and the horizontal line between the two fat rolls just south of her arm-band) in order to reduce criticism (afterall, who can call it porn if it serves as an excuse for a subliminal cross), the artist, as well, had her looking in the mirror, so that her modesty might be preserved by avoiding a direct eye-contact with the person viewing the painting.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      My first wife was Rubenesque but she kept eating.
       
      I know enough history that a subtle cross is all it would take to deflect criticism.  If the times were a bit more modern when he painted it, he could have just tattooed her.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      Ditto.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      +1

      My wife (first and only!) is somewhat rubeneaque, and at almost 50 is still hot – of course it helps that she attends the gym regularly and stays very active. Think of a red-headed Nigella Lawson.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Mr Burns… thanks for making me google that :)

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Monty, you’re almost as lucky as I am.  But my taste runs latina, which is what my future wife is.  :)

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      Count me in also…
      1st wife was 5’11″ 250+/-lbs, size 11f shoes and mostly solid hourglass shape.
      Since then have dated a whole range of larger women and then married another one albeit slightly smaller…

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Some fat broads deceive you into thinking they don’t look that bad…Their boobs look all lovely, and big, in queen size push up bras…their booties are all big and round, and they don’t tuck their shirts in, so you can’t accurately gauge how big their bellies are…

    But once you get them home, and the clothes come off, ICK.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Yet another reason we see fewer new companies. Litigation.
    It is also another example of the dumbing down of society. Since a few cannot multi task, the rest cannot. No more fast food, cell phones, radios, discussions or coffee.

    We covered this before, kind of.
    And I suggested people who did not wear seat belts couldn’t sue for damages. A few TTAC B&B got kind of upset with that idea.

    Where does personal responsibility ever come in?
    Bertel, as you suggest, when does a decision IMPLY you understand the risks involved?
    IF you get into a tiny sports car, you will never be fully protected from a semi truck.

    Is it soon to be that anybody who rides a cycle will not be able to sue in any accident in which the cycle could not withstand the collision with anything larger?

    Madness.

  • avatar
    obbop

    More bounce to the ounce?

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Where does personal responsibility ever come in?
    It seems that such a concept doesn’t exist anymore.
     
    About the trail. Why sue Peugeot and not the ECE or the organization that homologated the car?. If Peugeot tested according ECE standards, that lawyer shouldn’t have any argument for claiming.

    Tough times for Mr. Zeitouni: Would he have said “yes” he would have violated European safety rules, by saying “no” he discriminated against the BBW community.
     
    So complying with the law discriminates people. Good. What should be done then? They may test the car with fatter dummy, study the results… and?
     
     
     

  • avatar
    AaronH

    Democracy always destroys society as the pathetic bratty parasites out-number and out-vote the producers. Government will eventually get you out of cars (personal transportation) by slowly legislating them out of existance…Of course the politcal psychopaths that the parasitical mental midgets vote for will still have their huge bulletproof limos.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Let’s see, the EU is concerned about pedestrian injuries so now we can’t have pop-up headlights or leaping Jaguar hood ornaments anymore and the noses on the rest of the cars have big, dopey looking noses. If this follows to its logical conclusion cars will be equipped with 5-point harnesses and will have another 500 lbs of metal built into them to account for the added mass of fat people. Wonderful

  • avatar
    ash2010

    I think testing should be valid for a range of healthy-ish body types, and certainly, if a five-star or “good” rated car is only good for someone who’s 5’9″ and 170 lbs, even though it can fit a 5’3″ 120 lbs individual all the way to a 6’4″ 230 lb individual, then it would seem like there might need to be some additional work done. But…

    It’s hard to be sympathetic about this as it applies to people who are morbidly obese or very overweight. I know that the average human being is fast heading in this direction, and perhaps it would be wise from a sales and advertising POV to take that into account when designing safe vehicles, but passing legislation requiring testing for this just seems ridiculous. To accept an overweight population as “normal” strikes me as perverse. The fact is being overweight creates so many health risks (increased likelihood of heart disease, increased susceptibility to certain forms of cancer, increased wear on skeletal structure, inability to run away from escaped lions, etc.) that the increased likelihood of injury in a collision to someone who’s for example 5″3 and 195 lbs should simply be an added incentive to lose the weight.

    There are some people for whom being overweight or obese is out of their hands, a glandular issue or the like. I have a lot of sympathy for these people, who are nonetheless a small minority in the ranks of the overweight. Perhaps, car manufacturers should have models to cater to them (free market and all that, as I suggested above). However, as someone who has a weight problem (even when the weight is off, I, like others who have managed to slim down a bit, have to be particularly vigilant), all I can suggest is that the government shouldn’t be forcing companies to spend extra resources to expand their testing regimen in this way, and that maybe, by losing weight, a person may be increasing his or her chances of survival in one more way.

  • avatar
    don1967

    The question “Have you tested with any dummies more than 78kg?” is only slightly less contrived than “When did you stop beating your wife?”.
     
    Why stop at 78?  Why not 88, 98, or 358?  What about endomorphic vs. mesomorphic body types, left-handed vs. right handed, or Taurus vs. Libra?  Did you test for that?  Tsk tsk.
     
    No wonder people hate lawyers so much.

  • avatar
    A is A

    So you’re advocating… what exactly?
    Individual righst, i.e., Life, Liberty and Pursuit of happines.

  • avatar

    So, what do we learn from this?
    - Fat people better drive fat cars.
    - Slim people might still enjoy their Lotus Elises.
    - Hopefully, they never meet on the road, in their cars, by accident.
    - Life remains to be dangerous, despite all EU directives.
    - We are all in God’s hand, whether at sea, or in court, or on the road.
    - Lawyers are nasty, indeed.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I think the family has a good case.  The seat belt should not have broken, despite her obesity.*
     
    *Note: I will assume that the seat belt broke unless I hear otherwise, since I can’t think of any other reason that her weight affected the outcome of the collision.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    physics trumps all and safety and development costs trump physics and obesity… this reminds me of the time the CEO if Ryan air in Europe wanted to charge overweight people excess luggage.
     
    it makes sense in terms of total weight/passenger, but apply this method (non-discrimination) to safety, and our cars would weight twice as much and chairs would be 3 times bigger.
     
    but if the court does give PSA a hard time for not testing with obese dummies, it would be stupid

  • avatar
    econobiker

    Not just fat/obese people but oversize people. I read accounts of an accident in which a pro-am weight lifter had his economy car’s seat belt bolts ripped out due to his body size/weight during the accident impact. I think this was prior to airbags but the issue still stands.
     
    And the other point is that I usually see obese women driving small economy cars usually loaded with DUI boyfriend/husband in passenger seat and several children in back seat. Then I see very skinny women driving luxury/mega size SUVs without any other passengers.  What gives there?


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