Are Accident Fatality Statistics Different For Men And Women?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS HLDI), many more men than women die each year in motor vehicle crashes. Suspected reasons include the assumption that men typically drive more miles than women and are more likely to engage in risky driving practices, including speeding, driving while impaired, and not using safety belts. Crashes involving male drivers often are more severe than those involving female drivers. However, females are more likely than males to be killed or injured in crashes of equal severity, although sex differences in fatality risk diminish with age.
Again according to the IIHS HLDI, nearly every year from 1975 to 2019, the number of male crash deaths was more than twice the number of female crash deaths, but the gap has narrowed. From 1975 to 2019, male crash deaths declined by 22 percent and female crash deaths declined by 12 percent. Since 1975, motorcyclist deaths have increased by more than 50 percent among both males and females. If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed in a car or truck accident, let a Florida car accident attorney at Searcy Denney help you recover your financial compensation.
Any way you choose to manipulate the statistics, there’s just no getting around it: Men are significantly more likely to die in motor vehicle accidents than women. Why?
Why Are Accidents More Dangerous for Men?
The results are in. Accidents are more dangerous for men. There have been several theories put forward when attempting to discover why.
It has been theorized that different cultural influences are connected to the increased rate of male crash fatalities. Analyzing cultural influences is a bit hit-and-miss; most proponents of this theory are quick to fill their arguments with disclaimers, and who can blame them? These types of theories are nearly impossible to prove, appealing more to our common sense than hard data. Many of these cultural influences are the result of stereotypes and history, yet it seems clear enough that car culture affects men and women differently. Cars are seen as a masculine item, and have been marketed that way for decades; indeed, ever since cars have been around. Many high-performance cars, with monikers like “muscle cars,” are designed specifically for males. This has been true since childhood when girls got dollies for Christmas and boys got model cars.
In adolescence, racing-style video games specifically target males. If they could make exciting video games about shopping, game developers would almost certainly market those to females. Remember, game developers care about money, not breaking down tired old stereotypes. So, at each stage in life, male-focused cars are marketed to males: toy cars and race tracks for boys, video games for teens, and muscle cars for adults.
Another theory is not quite so nefarious. Differences in the biology of men and women influence trends of behavior. The biggest biological difference between men and women is levels of testosterone vs. estrogen. Each hormone affects the brain differently when it comes to driving, and each offers its unique strengths and weaknesses.
Higher testosterone levels contribute to increases in two important driving skills: (1) visual processing, and (2) spatial awareness.
According to Science Direct, visual processing is the ability to perceive, analyze, synthesize, and think with visual patterns and involves the ability to store and recall visual representations via visual imagery and visual memory. Better visual processing allows a driver to more quickly interpret road conditions and the movements of the cars around them. When driving, fractions of a second may be the difference between an accident and a near miss, so the importance of visual processing cannot be overstated.
According to Healthline, spatial awareness is the body’s ability to be aware of objects in space and your body’s position in relation to them; i.e., the brain’s ability to understand the relationships between yourself and other objects. Spatial awareness is difficult to measure, as many people can’t tell if a misjudgment in spatial awareness contributed in some way to their collision.
Not surprisingly, testosterone also influences the temperament of a driver, boosting aggression levels. This does not necessarily make men more violent drivers, but it can contribute to men taking greater risks on the road, feeling overconfident, and, of course, being prone to road rage.
On the other hand, estrogen has its own perceptible influences on the way women drive. Estrogen enhances concentration, which in turn allows women to focus more narrowly on the road and drive without distractions. Estrogen levels have also been linked to improved memory, an underrated attribute as it relates to driving. Remembering desired routes or amounts of time a trip takes tends to boost the overall safety, and comfort, of the driver.
Other factors that help account for the higher number of male fatalities in accidents include the increased likelihood of speeding, the increased likelihood of impaired driving, more time spent behind the wheel, and less use of safety gear.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has weighed in on this issue, finding that:
- Men put about 50 percent more miles on their vehicles each year on average than women
- Men tend to drive more aggressively than women, often resulting in more severe crashes
- Men are more likely to drive while impaired
All of the data can be attributed to a few areas of common sense: Men tend to drive more aggressively, with shorter trips the goal instead of safety. Women tend to drive more carefully, with safety as their main concern, especially when driving with kids.
A Florida Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Recover Your Damages No Matter Your Gender
Whether you’re a male or a female, everybody can be involved in accidents that are not their fault. At Searcy Denney, we don’t care what gender you are; we only care about recovering all of the financial compensation you deserve. Let a Florida car accident attorney handle your insurance and legal claims, so you can focus on your recovery. Contact us for your free consultation. We work entirely on a contingency fee basis, with no risk to you.