Why More Women Drivers Die In Car Crashes
Female Drivers Have a Higher Risk of Suffering From Injuries Caused by Car Crashes Involving Large Vehicles — Insight From Car Accident Experts
Historically, statistics have shown that more men die in motor vehicle crashes than women. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), men tend to drive more miles than women or engage more often in risky driving practices. However, it has recently become more common for women to fall victim to a car accident involving large vehicles.
A new study has reportedly found that women drivers have a higher risk of sustaining serious injuries when colliding into a large vehicle. The cause of this problem is due to the fact that men, especially those who have aggressive driving tendencies, are often seen operating vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks. These types of male drivers are expected to commit negligent behavior that may result in a fatal accident.
Conducted by the IIHS, the study uncovered “renewed evidence of the long-overdue reckoning the country must have with its male mega-car problem,” Streetsblog USA wrote. Our expert legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers will go into more depth over this new development in the following sections.
Car crashes are largely considered a virus that’s pervasive in our society. These types of accidents are reportedly the fourth leading cause of premature death in Los Angeles County, ahead of homicides, strokes, and lung cancer. Out of the 200 most populous cities in the United States, Allstate ranked Los Angeles as the 195th safest city to drive in. Traffic deaths in the city have risen 32 percent in the last decade.
Moreover, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), men cause 6.1 million accidents per year, while women contribute to 4.4 million.
When it comes to who is likely to survive a vehicle-to-vehicle collision, reports indicate that both genders are given an equal chance in instances where the vehicles they are driving in are similar to one another based on size. 40 percent of men involved in car accidents were found to be driving a larger and heavier vehicle. This gave them a higher survival rate compared to 70 percent of women who were behind the wheel of a small vehicle during impact.
Aggressive driving also contributes to these accidents. Researchers found that it is more likely for a female driver to be struck by another vehicle from the side or front. It is more expected of male drivers to cause these crashes. This information correlates with a recent survey conducted by the AAA, which found that males are more likely to self-report reckless driving behaviors that are linked to crashes, such as speeding and running over a red light.
According to Streetsblog USA, both findings challenge the belief that women are more likely to suffer from serious injuries in a car accident because cars are designed based on the measurements of an average American man, along with crash test dummies that are created based on the proportions of a male. The IIHS researchers also discovered that women were 70 percent more likely to experience leg injuries in a car accident since vehicle design does not cater to protect a typical female body.
Overall, the likelihood of each gender to survive a car crash depends mostly on the vehicle choice.
SUVs and Pickups vs Smaller Vehicles
Pickups and SUVs have gained massive popularity. This has affected the types of vehicles that have been mostly involved in fatal car accidents. Since 1975, car occupant deaths have decreased by 49 percent. Within the same period, pickup occupant deaths increased by 19 percent and SUV occupant deaths have also risen more than 10 times. However, since 1978, a decline in death rates has been found the largest for those who are SUV occupants.
According to the IIHS, the likelihood of fatal crashes may vary depending on the type of vehicle and its size. Vehicles that are small and/or light do not have sufficient structure and size to prevent serious damages in an accident. Drivers who own lighter vehicles are at a disadvantage in a collision that involves a heavier vehicle.
It has been noted that pickups and SUVS are more likely to be involved in fatal single-vehicle crashes, especially due to rollovers. Furthermore, pickups and SUVS are heavier than most cars, which makes it quite uncommon for occupant deaths to occur in multiple-vehicle crashes.
In 2019, passenger vehicle occupant deaths contributed to 62 percent of 36,096 deadly motor vehicle accidents in the United States. In the same year, cars had the highest number of passenger vehicle occupant deaths. Out of 9,973 single-vehicle crashes, 48 percent were from cars. Out of 12,443 multiple-vehicle crashes, 61 percent were mostly from cars, as well. However, SUVs were reported to have the lowest amount of deaths per registered vehicle. About 27 percent of single-vehicle crashes involved SUVs. SUVs also accounted for 22 percent of multiple-vehicle crashes.
This is not new information, meaning the problem has been known for decades. Per data from 2019 by the IIHS, the total driver fatality rate per million registered passenger vehicles 1 to 3 years old by vehicle type and size were:
- Mini, 86
- Small, 56
- Midsize, 40
- Large, 54
- Very large, 25
- Small, 29
- Midsize, 20
- Large, 18
- Very large, 23
- Small, 24
- Large, 31
- Very large, 33
But the solution to this problem isn’t simply armoring small cars better against assaults from SUV drivers. U.S. crash testing programs have failed to accomodate to those who occupy the streets other than motor vehicle drivers, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders, and wheelchair users. Unlike other countries, the U.S. brings the attention of safety to motor vehicle drivers more so than anyone else.
However, as mega-cars increasingly dominate U.S. roads, the problem is unlikely to go away soon. In 2019, SUVs, large vans, and pickup trucks made up 72 percent of vehicle sales in the country. Analysts predict that number will increase to 78 percent by 2025 if new car assessment programs are unable to recognize the dangerous factors that come with large vehicles and how it can negatively affect vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and drivers who own small vehicles.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of another driver’s carelessness, you have the right to hold that driver responsible. An experienced car accident attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.