Car safety on the road is important for everyone. Fatal car crashes can occur among all drivers and end in tragedy, but there are some notable differences when it comes to gender. So do females get in more car accidents or do men? Read on to learn the differences between men and women in car accidents and what factors come into play.
What gender has more accidents?
When looking at the data, there are some interesting findings when looking at men versus women in car accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and found that:
- More men die in car crashes each year.
- Men have a higher likelihood of engaging in risky driving behavior such as not wearing a seatbelt, driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as speeding.
- Men typically drive more miles than women.
- Severe accidents tend to occur more with men than women.
- Females have a higher chance of being injured or killed in crashes that are equally severe, though this narrows with age.
- From 1975 to 2019, male crash deaths were more than double female crash deaths.
- In 2019, 71% of car fatalities were males.
- As of 2019, males made up 71% of driver deaths in a passenger vehicle, 48% of deaths as a passenger in a passenger vehicle, 96% of driver deaths in a large truck, 67% of deaths as a passenger in a large truck, 70% of pedestrian deaths, 86% of bike deaths, as well as 91% of motorcyclist deaths.
As you can see, men have a higher likelihood of dying in a fatal car crash but women are more susceptible to injury or death in certain cases. Let’s take a look at some of the main causes.
Driving under the influence of alcohol
Driving under the influence of alcohol puts you at risk of getting a DUI and is dangerous. You put yourself and others at risk for injury and death. When it comes to what gender has more alcohol-related accidents, men definitely take the lead.
According to IIHS, the percentage of men with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% (the legal limit) or above is much higher for men compared to women and has been the case every year from 1982 to 2019.
For example, as of 2019, it’s estimated that men made up 32% of deaths with BAC over the legal limit, whereas women made up 21% of deaths with BAC over the legal limit.
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as of 2019, there were 10,142 deaths from drunk driving crashes. The organization noted that this was the lowest percentage of drunk driving deaths since they started tracking numbers in 1982.
Driving over the speed limit
Driving over the speed limit, or speeding is another major contributing factor in accidents and fatal car crashes. The pandemic has also led to a boost in speeding-related crashes as well. According to NHTSA data, speeding-related fatal car crashes were up 17% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Similar to drinking, this has been the case every year from 1982 to 2019. As of 2019, male drivers made up 27% of speeding-related deaths, whereas female drivers made up 18% of speeding-related deaths.
Age as a factor
Another factor to consider when evaluating men and women in car accidents is age. Age can be a factor as younger drivers may be less experienced on the road, and senior drivers may have health issues that could contribute to car accidents. So what gender has more accidents by age?
According to IIHS, male drivers are still at higher risk of fatal car crashes. Remember, men tend to drive more miles than women, which adds to that risk. But age may contribute as well.
Based on 2016-2017 data, rates may be higher for men between the ages of 16 and 29 than women. The biggest difference in gender occurred between ages 20 and 29. As of 2017, fatal car crash rates per 100 million miles driven that occurred in passenger vehicles were 1.6 for female drivers aged 20 to 29 and 3.9 for male drivers in the same age group.
More recent data from 2019 analyzed by IIHS illustrates that passenger vehicle occupant deaths were higher among men in every age group than women, aside from 0-15 years. So, pretty much among all drivers who are legally able to obtain their driver’s license.
The highest fatality rate for men in accidents occurred in male drivers 85 and up. The next highest fatality rates were among male drivers aged 80 to 84 as well as 20 to 24.
Women in car accidents
If you’ve wondered do females get in more car accidents or do men, now you know that men have a higher rate of car accidents and increased rates of risky driving behavior.
But IIHS also found that women in accidents may have an increased risk of injury or death. So what’s behind that? Based on IIHS analysis, women are more likely to drive in a smaller vehicle and have a higher chance of being the vehicle that is struck in a car crash that has a side impact or front-to-rear impact.
Men are more likely to have a larger vehicle that may offer greater protection and are more likely to be the vehicle that strikes another vehicle in a crash. However, in the event of injuries, women had a 2.5 times higher chance of sustaining moderate leg injuries.
The bottom line
Driving comes with a level of risk for everyone. But what gender has more accidents comes down to many factors including age, speed, and driving under the influence. Though there are higher rates of men in accidents, women in accidents may have a higher risk of injury or death in some cases.
Regardless of your gender, to stay safe it’s key to drive the appropriate speed limit, avoid taking any mind-altering substances and practice defensive driving. Also, make sure your insurance has got you covered in the event of an accident. Low-mileage drivers can benefit from pay-per-mile car insurance. Just like you pay for gas by the gallon, why not pay for insurance by the miles you drive? Get insurance that makes sense. Get a free quote with Metromile and review your options.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function