IIHS research bibliography
IIHS has been conducting research for more than 50 years. Papers published in copyrighted publications such as books, journals and conference proceedings are available upon request, but their contents may not be redistributed or republished without consent of the publishers. Unpublished and noncopyrighted reports are available for download, and their contents may be redistributed and republished with attribution.
Women's issues in highway safety: a summary of the literature
Ferguson, Susan A.; Braitman, Keli A.
Research on Women’s Issues in Transportation: Report of a Conference. Conference Proceedings 35; Volume 1: Conference Overview and Plenary Papers
A review of research literature on passenger vehicle safety that focuses on gender differences is provided. Around the world women are licensed and driving more than in the past. The result is that more women are dying in crashes, although more men than women still die in crashes every year because men drive more miles than women and tend to take more risks (speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, less frequent use of seat belts). Men's crashes are often more severe than women's, but when crash severity is controlled for, women are more likely to be killed or injured. Evidence suggests that for the most part vehicle features designed to reduce injuries (e.g., seat belts and airbags) are as effective in protecting women as men. Sometimes they are more effective. For example, improvements to head restraints may be reducing neck injury more for women than men. There also have been changes in crash testing; dummies representing shorter women are beginning to be used. One area that has received limited attention is the safety of pregnant women and their fetuses. The development of a pregnant dummy has been under way for years, and research using both real and computer-simulated pregnant dummies is exploring how factors such as seat belts, airbags, and crash severity affect a pregnant mother and fetus in a crash. As more women drive into their later years and drive more miles, it will be important to evaluate changes in crash characteristics over time as a function of age and sex as well as the types of injuries that women and men sustain.
Trends in fatal crashes involving female drivers, 1975-1998
Mayhew, Daniel R.; Ferguson, Susan A.; Desmond, Katharine J.; Simpson, Herbert M.
Accident Analysis and Prevention
Since the mid-1980s there has been concern about the growing number of female drivers in the US involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes, and similar trends have been noted in other parts of the world. The present study examined whether this trend has continued into the 1990s and the reasons for it. Fatal crash data were obtained from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), mileage data from the National Personal Transportation Survey, and licensure data from the Federal Highway Administration. Many more women were licensed to drive in 1998 than in 1975, and on average they drove more miles. When changes in total annual mileage were taken into account, per-mile crash rates decreased similarly for men and women (about 40%). An examination of the characteristics of their fatal crashes revealed that male and female drivers have seen similar reductions in single-vehicle, nighttime, and alcohol-related crashes. However, men continue to be involved more often in these types of crashes.
Injury risk and seating position for fifth percentile female drivers - crash tests with 1990 and 1992 Lincoln Town Cars
Powell, Michael R.; Zuby, David S.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
A series of 35 mi/h barrier crash tests were conducted to assess the head, neck, chest, and upper leg injury likelihood for fifth-percentile female drivers for both forward and rearward seating positions. One test was conducted with the dummy in a forward position with a driver airbag, two tests with the dummy in the same position and the airbags deactivated, and two tests with the dummy in a rearward seating position with airbags. Pedal extenders, which were installed in the rearward position tests, allowed the rearward position to be judged reasonable for driving by a person of similar stature. Measurements from the dummy’s head indicated head injury risk was low in all crashes, but a comparison of the force distribution offered by the airbags and unprotected steering wheels indicated that substantial facial fractures were likely without the airbags. The measured neck tension forces exceeded reference values in the forward position test with airbag and one of the forward position tests without airbag.