Gender | 2005

More men than women die each year in motor vehicle crashes. Men typically drive more miles than women and more often engage in risky driving practices including not using seat belts, driving while impaired by alcohol, and speeding. Crashes involving male drivers often are more severe than those involving female drivers. Li, G.; Baker, S.P.; Langlois, J.A.; and Kelen, G.D. 1998. Are female drivers safer? An application of the decomposition method. Epidemiology 9:379-84. However, when crashes of equal severity are examined by gender, females are more likely than males to be killed or injured. Bedard, M.; Guyatt, G.H.; Stones, J.J.; and Hirdes, J.P. 2002. The independent contribution of driver, crash, and vehicle characteristics to driver fatalities. Accident Analysis and Prevention 34:717-27. Evans, L. 2001. Age and fatality risk from similar severity impacts. Journal of Traffic Medicine 29:10-19. Evans, L. 2001. Female compared with male fatality risk from similar physical impacts. Journal of Trauma 50:281-88. Evans, L. and Gerrish, P.H. 2001. Gender and age influence on fatality risk from the same physical impact determined using two-car crashes (SAE 011174). Vehicle Aggressivity and Compatibility in Automotive Crashes (SP-1601). Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers.

Since 1975 deaths among female passenger vehicle drivers have increased while male passenger vehicle driver deaths have changed little. The increase in female driver deaths can be explained by an increase in exposure. More women are licensed now than in the past. They drive more miles and are more likely to drive at night. The rate of fatal crashes per 100 million miles of travel for male and female drivers decreased similarly between 1977 and 2001 — a 48 percent decrease for female drivers and a 45 percent decrease for male drivers. Ferguson, S.A. and Braitman, K.A. 2006. Women's issues in highway safety: a summary of the literature. Research on Women's Issues in Transportation: Report of a Conference. Conference Proceedings 35; Volume 1: Conference Overview and Plenary Papers, 39-50. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board.

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Trends

From 1975 to 2005 male motor vehicle crash deaths declined 8 percent while female deaths increased 11 percent. Male deaths decreased fairly steadily from 1975 to 1992 and have risen slowly since 1992. Female deaths rose from 1975 until 1997 and remained steady through 2005. The increase in female motor vehicle crash deaths was largely due to a 75 percent increase in deaths of female passenger vehicle drivers since 1975. Deaths of male passenger vehicle drivers changed little during the same time period. Deaths have gone down among both male and female passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Since 1997 motorcyclist deaths more than doubled for both males and females.

Motor vehicle deaths by gender, 1975-2005

Motor vehicle crash deaths by type and gender, 1975-2005
YearPassenger vehicle driver deathsPassenger vehicle passenger deathsPedestrian deathsBicyclist deathsMotorcyclist deathsTotal motor vehicle deaths*
MaleFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemale
197515,7063,6426,0695,0955,1962,3198201832,86324332,67511,844
197616,0134,0786,2065,3305,1202,3077511632,95028233,03812,481
197716,4994,4426,2425,5425,3312,4007301923,67632834,62713,248
197817,9744,7826,3735,6595,4942,2967141784,05938936,73113,591
197918,2734,8366,4305,3885,7012,3917591734,29541737,58813,498
198018,1104,8766,4395,4385,6132,4547821834,52443037,39213,688
198117,5924,9105,9725,0775,4592,3327481814,34838935,93013,161
198215,1284,5345,2974,6095,1442,1857201443,93333431,87712,062
198314,6194,7165,0224,6994,7752,0507001303,80029930,49812,084
198414,9335,3655,0944,6045,0162,0056841534,07634931,54112,707
198514,7675,2885,0094,7044,6712,1337321374,07434130,95912,856
198615,9355,5645,6674,9314,7712,0047891404,00230532,85613,191
198716,1336,0225,7825,0934,7771,9678261143,52630632,62113,757
198816,7446,1405,8155,2934,7562,1117731283,25523532,94714,123
198916,2846,2695,5625,4084,5941,9596961262,79024031,33814,232
199015,9016,0495,5875,0614,4951,9857321212,88824030,91613,665
199114,8245,7275,2314,9043,9851,8157151212,49121128,54512,953
199214,0215,5504,9954,7793,8671,679627902,11917126,77212,444
199314,2985,7375,0144,8693,9361,7117021042,14420227,32212,814
199414,6106,0335,0415,0213,7571,7326871092,01320227,40913,291
199515,1636,2935,2035,1373,8561,7286991281,94918928,13313,663
199615,0666,5635,3795,2603,7801,6676541071,88818928,06113,991
199715,0166,6815,2305,2923,6431,677712991,86918727,81914,164
199814,9756,6515,0065,0463,5581,670658992,02720027,60713,884
199915,2386,6585,0444,9793,4661,472656942,19722128,04013,667
200015,3236,4955,3814,8313,2511,512613762,56326628,54513,396
200115,3966,4655,2754,7053,4211,479657722,84028328,98613,205
200215,9076,6295,3614,7373,2981,552590732,88330429,46613,529
200315,5516,6475,2094,6823,2741,499554713,28335829,34613,532
200415,3906,5625,1034,6383,2371,435626963,48541729,44313,387
200515,5176,3604,9094,4573,4321,437683974,00443530,22413,089
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

About one-third of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2005 were females. Females accounted for 29 percent of passenger vehicle driver deaths, 48 percent of passenger vehicle passenger deaths, 29 percent of pedestrian deaths, 12 percent of bicyclist deaths, and 10 percent of motorcyclist deaths.

Number and percent of motor vehicle crash deaths by type and gender, 2005
GenderPassenger vehicle driver deathsPassenger vehicle passenger deathsPedestrian deathsBicyclist deathsMotorcyclist deathsTotal motor vehicle deaths*
Num%Num%Num%Num%Num%Num%
Male15,517714,909523,43270683874,0049030,22470
Female6,360294,457481,4372997124351013,08930
Total*21,8801009,3691004,8811007821004,43910043,443100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

From 1975 to 2005 the rate of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people decreased 9 percent among females and decreased 32 percent among males. During the same time period occupant death rates ranged from about 2 to 2 1/2 times higher for males than females.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by gender, 1975-2005

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by gender, 1975-2005
YearMaleFemaleTotal*
PopulationNumRatePopulationNumRatePopulationNumRate
1975105,365,96521,84120.7110,607,2348,7557.9215,973,19930,60114.2
1976106,308,60422,30021.0111,726,5609,4208.4218,035,16431,72414.5
1977107,334,54822,80621.2112,904,87710,0158.9220,239,42532,82314.9
1978108,423,58024,44322.5114,160,96510,4779.2222,584,54534,92315.7
1979109,583,96124,77222.6115,471,52610,2528.9225,055,48735,02615.6
1980110,398,75424,64922.3116,825,96510,3418.9227,224,71934,99515.4
1981111,502,91223,66721.2117,962,69610,0388.5229,465,60833,71114.7
1982112,579,47920,49418.2119,085,0179,1587.7231,664,49629,65412.8
1983113,646,98719,71917.4120,144,9169,4307.8233,791,90329,15312.5
1984114,670,25220,10217.5121,154,5319,9898.2235,824,78330,09112.8
1985115,729,57719,82517.1122,194,15510,0168.2237,923,73229,84712.5
1986116,865,22521,67718.5123,267,61610,5148.5240,132,84132,22413.4
1987117,960,90721,98618.6124,328,11611,1489.0242,289,02333,14513.7
1988119,085,49622,63319.0125,413,34011,4599.1244,498,83634,10513.9
1989120,277,49021,89718.2126,541,62911,6939.2246,819,11933,59913.6
1990121,626,11821,56417.7127,838,27811,1328.7249,464,39632,71113.1
1991122,956,04320,15116.4129,197,04910,6518.2252,153,09230,81012.2
1992124,423,54419,07715.3130,606,15510,3507.9255,029,69929,45711.6
1993125,787,80519,36015.4131,994,80310,6228.0257,782,60829,99411.6
1994127,049,17519,72815.5133,277,84611,0768.3260,327,02130,81611.8
1995128,293,71220,44215.9134,509,56411,4528.5262,803,27631,91312.1
1996129,504,35320,49115.8135,724,21911,8528.7265,228,57232,35412.2
1997130,783,10720,30815.5137,000,50012,0068.8267,783,60732,33112.1
1998132,029,72920,05715.2138,218,27411,7148.5270,248,00331,77911.8
1999133,276,55920,34715.3139,414,25411,6548.4272,690,81332,00811.7
2000138,468,99920,75915.0143,723,16311,3467.9282,192,16232,10911.4
2001140,012,61520,74714.8145,089,46011,1877.7285,102,07531,93811.2
2002141,518,98921,32615.1146,422,23111,3897.8287,941,22032,72411.4
2003143,024,34020,81014.5147,764,63611,3547.7290,788,97632,16611.1
2004144,537,40820,53414.2149,117,99611,2157.5293,655,40431,75010.8
2005145,999,74620,47614.0150,410,65810,8407.2296,410,40431,32210.6
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

The number of driver fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled in 2001-02 was about 50 percent higher for males (2.5 per 100 million) than females (1.7 per 100 million). At all ages, except ages 60-69, rates were higher for males than females, but the gender difference was largest among driver ages 16-19.

Fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled by driver age and gender, April 2001–March 2002
AgeMaleFemaleTotal*
Crash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRate
16-194,25746,427,394,0109.21,85235,264,476,1055.36,10981,691,870,1147.5
20-298,949225,999,581,8604.03,172156,283,683,9552.012,122382,283,265,8153.2
30-5915,027845,507,965,6891.86,946551,350,306,4301.321,9731,396,858,272,1191.6
60-692,097128,814,817,8451.61,00864,778,212,7901.63,105193,593,030,6351.6
≥ 703,14876,991,652,5604.11,57139,093,332,0094.04,719116,084,984,5694.1
Total*33,7331,324,373,970,6822.514,633847,734,931,0971.748,6382,172,108,901,7792.2
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Age differences

In 2005 the rates of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people were higher among males than females for every age group except 0-15 years. The gender difference in fatality rates was greatest for occupants ages 20-24 and those 85 and older. Males ages 20-24 had the highest fatality rate, and fatality rates were lowest for males and females younger than 16.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by age and gender, 2005
AgeMaleFemaleTotal*
PopulationNumRatePopulationNumRatePopulationNumRate
0-1533,305,4698332.531,781,2477802.565,086,7161,6152.5
16-198,541,3322,54129.78,111,2011,34816.616,652,5333,88923.4
20-2410,856,9363,44231.710,180,9241,21311.921,037,8604,65522.1
25-2910,268,1692,10420.59,797,5337617.820,065,7022,86514.3
30-3410,153,0911,56115.49,924,1196726.820,077,2102,23311.1
35-3910,563,3751,40513.310,438,5796876.621,001,9542,09210.0
40-4411,376,6641,42412.511,483,8467306.422,860,5102,1549.4
45-4911,106,5751,35512.211,377,9487216.322,484,5232,0769.2
50-549,788,7801,16811.910,208,9626186.119,997,7421,7868.9
55-598,425,07094711.28,928,6085686.417,353,6781,5158.7
60-646,201,64878012.66,800,2155097.513,001,8631,2899.9
65-694,721,79161713.15,409,6534568.410,131,4441,07310.6
70-743,807,60560916.04,700,7644409.48,508,3691,04912.3
75-793,117,77461019.64,294,03949511.57,411,8131,10614.9
80-842,161,67154325.13,480,87843512.55,642,54997817.3
≥ 851,603,79648730.43,492,14238611.15,095,93887317.1
Total145,999,74620,47614.0150,410,65810,8407.2296,410,40431,32210.6
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Alcohol involvement

From 1982 to 2005 the proportion of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent declined by 33 percent among males and 41 percent among females. Since 1985 the percentage of fatally injured male drivers with high BACs has been about twice that of female drivers.

Estimated number and percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent, 1982-2005
YearMaleFemaleTotal*
Drivers killedEstimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08
NumNum%NumNum%NumNum%
198215,1288,529564,5341,4953319,66310,02351
198314,6198,070554,7161,4583119,3379,52949
198414,9337,855535,3651,5232820,2989,37846
198514,7677,325505,2881,3482520,0578,67443
198615,9357,950505,5641,4442621,5039,39644
198716,1337,787486,0221,5542622,1579,34342
198816,7448,080486,1401,5002422,8849,58142
198916,2847,710476,2691,4912422,5549,20141
199015,9017,591486,0491,3802321,9538,97341
199114,8246,916475,7271,3262320,5518,24240
199214,0216,216445,5501,2172219,5737,43438
199314,2986,114435,7371,2132120,0367,32837
199414,6105,898406,0331,1842020,6447,08334
199515,1636,216416,2931,2722021,4567,48835
199615,0666,063406,5631,2721921,6317,33634
199715,0165,813396,6811,2471921,7027,06233
199814,9755,712386,6511,2321921,6276,94532
199915,2385,832386,6581,1611721,8996,99432
200015,3235,844386,4951,2832021,8197,12733
200115,3965,954396,4651,2501921,8627,20533
200215,9076,182396,6291,1991822,5377,38133
200315,5515,938386,6471,1821822,2007,12032
200415,3905,804386,5621,1481721,9526,95232
200515,5175,887386,3601,2281921,8807,11733
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

References