There are about 228 million drivers in the U.S., divided in half almost exactly between men and women. The equity doesn’t extend to motor vehicle crashes involving injuries, however. According to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), women are much more likely than men to sustain serious injuries in crashes.
The IIHS says two main factors contribute to the difference between genders in injury risk: vehicle choice and circumstances of the wrecks.
Diving into the data
The organization crunched the injury statistics from police-reported front- and side-impact wrecks from 1998 to 2015. The data shows that women were from 37 percent to 73 percent more likely to suffer serious injuries. Women were also from 20 percent to 28 percent more likely to die in crashes.
Jessica Jermakian, vice president of vehicle research at the IIHS, said, “The numbers indicate that 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.”
Researchers found that in front-impact collisions, women were three times more likely than men to sustain a moderate injury such as a concussion or broken bone. Women are twice as likely in those crashes to sustain a serious injury such as a traumatic brain injury or collapsed lung.
In side-impact collisions, women were about 50 percent more likely to sustain a serious injury. The risk of moderate injuries was about the same for both genders.
Vehicle choice and more
The IIHS found that about 70 percent of women were in crashes while driving cars, compared to 60 percent of men. More than 20 percent of men were in crashes while driving pick-ups, the IIHS said, compared to less than 5 percent of women. Within the vehicle classes, men tended to drive heavier vehicles, which previous research has shown offer more protection in wrecks.
In an analysis of crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, researchers found that in front-to-rear and front-to-side collisions, women are more likely to be driving the struck vehicle. Because drivers of striking vehicles are less likely to be injured than the driver of the struck vehicle, researchers believe that is also a factor in the difference in crash outcomes for women and men.
Statistics and studies are informative, but if you have suffered an injury in a crash in the Raleigh and Durham area, your focus will be on how to fully recover both physically and financially.