The Insurance Institute for Highways Safety recently revealed why women are more likely to be killed and have injuries when involved in car crashes: smaller cars! There are 231,652,000 drivers in the U.S. as of last year. Based on 2019 data, 49.4% of drivers are male and 50.6% are female. For ages up to 24, that ratio becomes the opposite. 50.7% of all 24-year-old and under licensed drivers are male, 49.3% are female.
Part of why the percentage is slightly higher for female drivers is life expectancy
Women are 20% to 28% more likely to die in a car crash
The IIHS analyzed the injuries of men and women in police-reported tow-away front and side crashes from 1998-2015 to reveal surprising findings. Men are more involved in fatal car crashes, but when taking a closer look at the per-crash basis women were 20% to 28% more likely to be killed. Women were also more likely to be injured, about 30% to 37% more.
SEE ALSO: ASIDE FROM CAR ACCIDENTS, WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS TO DRIVING
Study finds women are 2.5 times more likely to suffer moderate leg injuries, and 70% more to get serious ones
Front and side car crashes: what the research shows
Women more often drive smaller, lighter cars and they’re more likely than men to be driving the struck vehicle in side-impact and front-into-rear crashes. In front crashes, IIHS found women were 3 times as likely to have a moderate injury like a broken bone or concussion, and twice as likely than men to suffer a serious one like a collapsed lung or traumatic brain injury.
In side crashes, the odds of a moderate injury were almost equal for both sexes, while women were about 50% more likely to be seriously injured, but neither of those results was statistically significant.
Women drivers are more likely to die in crashes because the male drivers who hit them are more likely to be driving trucks and SUVs
It comes down to smaller vehicles
One possibility for the higher injury rates for women could come down to vehicle choice. Men and women crashed in minivans and SUVs in about equal proportions. But 70% of women crashed in cars, compared with about 60% of men. More than 20% of men crashed in pickup trucks, compared with less than 5% of women. In the study, men also tended to crash in heavier vehicles, which offer more protection in collisions.
In NYC, men caused 78% of the crashes between 2013- 2017
Another study, from the New York Department of Transportation (DOT), found 80% of fatal crashes in NY since 2018 were caused by male car drivers — and 41% of them over the same period were driving pickups or SUVs. SUVs and other light trucks accounted for 45% of the cyclists and 41% of all the pedestrians killed in 2018. In New York men caused 78% of the crashes between 2013 and 2017 — 32% of them in SUVs.
It wasn’t until 2011 that the US started using a female crash-test dummy
In the EU, a woman is 17% more likely to die
The Guardian has some statistics of its own based on studies from the European Union. Women tend to sit further forward when driving. The findings state that when a woman is involved in a car crash, she’s 47% more likely to be seriously injured, and 71% more likely to be moderately injured. A woman is also 17% more likely to die. The statistics have mostly to do with how a car is designed and built.
The Guardian reports that it’s because women are on average shorter. Legs need to be closer to reach the pedals, women need to sit more upright to see clearly over the dashboard. That’s not the standard seating position though. The angle of women’s knees and hips as the shorter legs reach for the pedals also make the legs more vulnerable. Women are also at higher risk in rear-end collisions, due to having less muscle on the neck and upper torso, which make them more vulnerable to whiplash by up to three times.
About 84.1% of the U.S population is a licensed driver, but the percentage of drivers around the world is closer to 16% to 17%