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A longtime firefighter tells The Dori Monson Show he thinks there should be some weight restrictions for drivers. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Too fat to drive? Firefighter says obesity can be dangerous on road

Most people are familiar with the dangers of drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but a firefighter says he thinks drivers being obese can be just as deadly.

A longtime firefighter, who asked to go by the alias "Robert," reached out to The Dori Monson Show to talk about this problem he's witnessed on the job. He told Monson about one incident involving an overweight driver who hit and killed a young boy skateboarding on the sidewalk.

"What struck me is the driver - which we're just seeing more and more of - was awfully large," says Robert. "Fat to a point where what we're seeing out there is not able to handle a motor vehicle."

If people are overweight, Robert says their size can impact their ability to properly control the vehicle.

"They have to bring the seat all the way back. They typically put the seat tilted back almost in a recliner fashion in order to gain more room in front of the steering wheel and they have slow reaction times," says Robert. "Many of them are unable to even hardly walk, let alone get in and out of the vehicle. So how can they safely maneuver the steering wheel and go quickly from gas to brake?"

Robert says the driver in the incident where the young boy was killed was around 350 or 400 pounds. He points out the Department of Motor Vehicles has rules about other people whose physical conditions impact their ability to drive.

"We have rules against people who have seizures or if their diabetes isn't under control," says Robert. "If you cannot safely manage the vehicle, you shouldn't be on the road."

Robert thinks government should impose some similar restrictions or guidelines based on weight for drivers.

Jamie Skorheim, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.
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