Crashes took 32,719 lives in the U.S. in 2013.
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, in crashes of equal severity, 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 generally increased, although since 2003 they have been slowly declining. Male passenger vehicle driver deaths remained fairly steady since 1975, until a recent decline since about 2006. The increase in female driver deaths since 1975 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.[ Error ]
The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
Male motor vehicle crash deaths declined 19 percent from 1975 to 2008, while female deaths decreased 10 percent. The smaller decrease in female crash deaths overall was largely due to a 43 percent increase in deaths of female passenger vehicle drivers since 1975. Deaths of male passenger vehicle drivers declined 17 percent 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, 1975-2008
Seventy-one percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2008 were males. Males accounted for 71 percent of passenger vehicle driver deaths, 54 percent of passenger vehicle passenger deaths, 70 percent of pedestrian deaths, 87 percent of bicyclist deaths, and 91 percent of motorcyclist deaths.
From 1975 to 2008, the rate of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people decreased 30 percent among females and 46 percent among males. During the same time period, occupant death rates were 2 to 2½ times higher for males than females.
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by gender, 1975-2008
The number of driver fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles driven in 2001-02 was about 50 percent higher for males (2.5 per 100 million miles traveled) than females (1.7 per 100 million miles traveled). Up to about age 59 rates were substantially higher for males than females. But starting around age 60 rates for males and females were similar.
In 2008, the rates of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people were much higher among males than among females for every age group except 0-15. Males ages 20-24 had the highest fatality rate, and fatality rates were lowest for males and females younger than 16.
From 1982 to 2008, the proportion of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent declined by 28 percent among males and 37 percent among females. Since 1985 the percentage of fatally injured male drivers with high BACs has been about twice that of female drivers.
©1996-2015, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
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