Big Americans Bust Weight Limits on Cars

Drivers, passengers are often too heavy for tires, say manufacturer safety labels
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2007 5:15 PM CDT
A long row of unsold 2007 Town & Country minivans sits outside a Chrysler-Jeep agency in the east Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, July 22, 2007. The Commerce Department said that orders for...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Americans who supersize their meals may be putting an unsafe burden on their car tires, exceeding weight limits they're rated to carry. Many two-seat sports cars, for instance, can't safely accommodate two 200-pound passengers, USA Today reports. Family cars and minivans also frequently max out when carrying a load of oversized passengers.

Automakers say they must use a federal formula that pegs the average American weight at 150 pounds, well below Centers for Disease Control estimates. A family car "should be capable of carrying five reasonably sized people, not five midgets," says Consumer Reports. Although many drivers are unaware of the weight limits, the labels could absolve car manufacturers of liability in crashes.