Gender | 2012

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 safety 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, females are more likely than males to be killed or injured in crashes of equal severity, although gender differences in fatality risk diminish with age. Kahane, C.J. 2013. Injury vulnerability and effectiveness of occupant protection technologies for older occupants and women. Report no. DOT HS-811-766. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Both men and women traveled more miles in 2008 than in 1995. The percentage increase in miles traveled between 1995 and 2008 was greater for women (13 percent) than for men (8 percent). Although both men and women travelled more in 2008 than in 1995, the rate of fatal crashes per 100 million miles of travel decreased 24 percent between 1995 and 2008 for both men and women. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2013. [Unpublished analysis of data from the US Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Household Travel Survey]. Arlington, VA.

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

Trends

Male motor vehicle crash deaths declined 14 percent from 1975 to 1999, while female crash deaths increased 15 percent.  The increase in female crash deaths overall was largely due to an 83 percent increase in deaths of female passenger vehicle drivers, whereas deaths of male drivers declined by 30 percent.  From 2000 to 2012, female vehicle crash deaths have declined by 27 percent, while male crash deaths decreased 17 percent.

From 1975 to 2012, deaths declined among both male and female passenger vehicle passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, but recently deaths among male and female pedestrians and bicyclists have gone up. From 2009 to 2012, female pedestrian deaths increased 13 percent and male pedestrian deaths increased 16 percent. Female bicyclist deaths increased 13 percent and male bicyclist deaths increased 15 percent during this same period. Since 1975, motorcyclist deaths increased among both males and females and have more than doubled since 1997.

Motor vehicle crash deaths by type and gender, 1975-2012
YearPassenger vehicle drivers Passenger vehicle passengers Pedestrians Bicyclists Motorcyclists Total motor vehicle deaths*
Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
1975 15,706 3,642 6,069 5,095 5,196 2,319 820 183 2,863 243 32,675 11,844
1976 16,013 4,078 6,206 5,330 5,120 2,307 751 163 2,950 282 33,038 12,481
1977 16,499 4,442 6,242 5,542 5,331 2,400 730 192 3,676 328 34,627 13,248
1978 17,974 4,782 6,373 5,659 5,494 2,296 714 178 4,059 389 36,731 13,591
1979 18,273 4,836 6,430 5,388 5,701 2,391 759 173 4,295 417 37,588 13,498
1980 18,110 4,877 6,439 5,438 5,613 2,454 782 183 4,524 430 37,392 13,689
1981 17,592 4,910 5,972 5,077 5,459 2,332 748 181 4,348 389 35,930 13,161
1982 15,129 4,534 5,298 4,609 5,144 2,185 720 144 3,933 334 31,879 12,062
1983 14,620 4,716 5,022 4,699 4,775 2,050 700 130 3,800 299 30,499 12,084
1984 14,934 5,366 5,094 4,605 5,016 2,005 684 153 4,076 349 31,541 12,709
1985 14,768 5,288 5,009 4,704 4,671 2,133 732 137 4,074 341 30,959 12,856
1986 15,935 5,564 5,667 4,931 4,771 2,004 789 140 4,002 305 32,856 13,191
1987 16,133 6,022 5,782 5,093 4,777 1,967 826 114 3,526 306 32,621 13,757
1988 16,744 6,140 5,815 5,293 4,756 2,111 773 128 3,255 235 32,947 14,123
1989 16,284 6,269 5,562 5,408 4,594 1,959 696 126 2,790 240 31,338 14,232
1990 15,901 6,049 5,587 5,061 4,495 1,985 732 121 2,888 240 30,916 13,665
1991 14,824 5,727 5,231 4,904 3,985 1,815 715 121 2,491 211 28,545 12,953
1992 14,021 5,550 4,995 4,779 3,867 1,679 627 90 2,119 171 26,772 12,444
1993 14,298 5,737 5,014 4,869 3,936 1,711 702 104 2,144 202 27,322 12,814
1994 14,612 6,034 5,041 5,022 3,757 1,732 687 109 2,013 202 27,411 13,293
1995 15,164 6,293 5,203 5,137 3,856 1,728 699 128 1,949 189 28,133 13,663
1996 15,066 6,563 5,379 5,260 3,780 1,667 654 107 1,888 189 28,061 13,991
1997 15,023 6,683 5,231 5,294 3,643 1,677 712 99 1,869 187 27,827 14,168
1998 14,975 6,651 5,007 5,047 3,558 1,670 658 99 2,027 200 27,608 13,885
1999 15,238 6,658 5,044 4,979 3,466 1,472 656 94 2,197 221 28,040 13,667
2000 15,323 6,495 5,381 4,831 3,251 1,512 613 76 2,563 266 28,545 13,396
2001 15,396 6,465 5,275 4,705 3,421 1,479 657 72 2,840 283 28,986 13,205
2002 15,907 6,629 5,361 4,737 3,298 1,552 590 73 2,883 304 29,466 13,529
2003 15,551 6,647 5,209 4,682 3,274 1,499 554 71 3,283 358 29,346 13,532
2004 15,390 6,562 5,103 4,638 3,237 1,435 626 96 3,485 417 29,443 13,387
2005 15,564 6,386 4,936 4,489 3,450 1,441 687 97 4,023 437 30,347 13,155
2006 15,199 6,390 4,707 4,223 3,332 1,459 675 94 4,286 413 29,849 12,842
2007 14,648 5,892 4,498 4,038 3,288 1,411 616 83 4,605 445 29,173 12,080
2008 13,022 5,239 3,910 3,314 3,078 1,331 624 92 4,662 449 26,744 10,665
2009 11,928 4,905 3,410 3,215 2,827 1,282 549 79 3,869 417 23,776 10,098
2010 11,103 4,923 3,257 3,022 2,961 1,339 537 84 3,903 421 22,988 10,006
2011 10,880 4,677 3,017 2,791 3,102 1,354 581 99 3,995 408 22,937 9,534
2012 11,182 4,658 3,014 2,874 3,285 1,454 631 89 4,246 419 23,808 9,733

Seventy-one percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2012 were males. Males accounted for 71 percent of passenger vehicle driver deaths, 51 percent of passenger vehicle passenger deaths, 69 percent of pedestrian deaths, 87 percent of bicyclist deaths, and 91 percent of motorcyclist deaths.

Number and percent of motor vehicle crash deaths by type and gender, 2012
GenderPassenger vehicle drivers Passenger vehicle passengers Pedestrians Bicyclists Motorcyclists Total motor vehicle deaths*
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
Male 11,182 71 3,014 51 3,285 69 631 87 4,246 91 23,808 71
Female 4,658 29 2,874 49 1,454 31 89 12 419 9 9,733 29
Total* 15,842 100 5,894 100 4,743 100 722 100 4,667 100 33,561 100

Occupant death rates from 1975 to 2012 have been about 1.8 to 2.6 times higher for males than females. During 1975 to 1999, the rate of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people decreased 26 percent among males and increased 6 percent among females. Since 2000 the rate of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 decreased 39 percent among males and 40 percent among females. 

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by gender, 1975-2012
YearMale Female Total*
PopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeathsRate
1975 105,365,965 21,841 20.7 110,607,234 8,755 7.9 215,973,199 30,601 14.2
1976 106,308,604 22,300 21.0 111,726,560 9,420 8.4 218,035,164 31,724 14.5
1977 107,334,548 22,806 21.2 112,904,877 10,015 8.9 220,239,425 32,823 14.9
1978 108,423,580 24,443 22.5 114,160,965 10,477 9.2 222,584,545 34,923 15.7
1979 109,583,961 24,772 22.6 115,471,526 10,252 8.9 225,055,487 35,026 15.6
1980 110,398,754 24,649 22.3 116,825,965 10,342 8.9 227,224,719 34,996 15.4
1981 111,502,912 23,667 21.2 117,962,696 10,038 8.5 229,465,608 33,711 14.7
1982 112,579,479 20,496 18.2 119,085,017 9,158 7.7 231,664,496 29,656 12.8
1983 113,646,987 19,720 17.4 120,144,916 9,430 7.8 233,791,903 29,154 12.5
1984 114,670,252 20,103 17.5 121,154,531 9,991 8.2 235,824,783 30,094 12.8
1985 115,729,577 19,826 17.1 122,194,155 10,016 8.2 237,923,732 29,848 12.5
1986 116,865,225 21,677 18.5 123,267,616 10,514 8.5 240,132,841 32,224 13.4
1987 117,960,907 21,986 18.6 124,328,116 11,148 9.0 242,289,023 33,145 13.7
1988 119,085,496 22,633 19.0 125,413,340 11,459 9.1 244,498,836 34,105 13.9
1989 120,277,490 21,897 18.2 126,541,629 11,693 9.2 246,819,119 33,599 13.6
1990 121,626,118 21,564 17.7 127,838,278 11,132 8.7 249,464,396 32,711 13.1
1991 122,956,043 20,151 16.4 129,197,049 10,651 8.2 252,153,092 30,810 12.2
1992 124,423,544 19,077 15.3 130,606,155 10,350 7.9 255,029,699 29,457 11.6
1993 125,787,805 19,360 15.4 131,994,803 10,622 8.0 257,782,608 29,994 11.6
1994 127,049,175 19,730 15.5 133,277,846 11,078 8.3 260,327,021 30,820 11.8
1995 128,293,712 20,443 15.9 134,509,564 11,452 8.5 262,803,276 31,914 12.1
1996 129,504,353 20,491 15.8 135,724,219 11,852 8.7 265,228,572 32,354 12.2
1997 130,783,107 20,316 15.5 137,000,500 12,010 8.8 267,783,607 32,343 12.1
1998 132,029,729 20,058 15.2 138,218,274 11,715 8.5 270,248,003 31,781 11.8
1999 133,276,559 20,347 15.3 139,414,254 11,654 8.4 272,690,813 32,008 11.7
2000 138,468,999 20,759 15.0 143,723,163 11,346 7.9 282,192,162 32,109 11.4
2001 140,012,615 20,747 14.8 145,089,460 11,187 7.7 285,102,075 31,938 11.2
2002 141,518,989 21,326 15.1 146,422,231 11,389 7.8 287,941,220 32,724 11.4
2003 143,024,340 20,810 14.5 147,764,636 11,354 7.7 290,788,976 32,166 11.1
2004 144,537,408 20,534 14.2 149,117,996 11,215 7.5 293,655,404 31,750 10.8
2005 145,999,746 20,550 14.1 150,410,658 10,898 7.2 296,410,404 31,455 10.6
2006 147,512,152 19,977 13.5 151,886,332 10,641 7.0 299,398,484 30,628 10.2
2007 148,658,898 19,198 12.9 152,962,259 9,952 6.5 301,621,157 29,155 9.7
2008 149,924,604 16,973 11.3 154,135,120 8,568 5.6 304,059,724 25,547 8.4
2009 151,449,490 15,376 10.2 155,557,060 8,126 5.2 307,006,550 23,507 7.7
2010 151,781,326 14,395 9.5 156,964,212 7,953 5.1 308,745,538 22,351 7.2
2011 153,290,819 13,928 9.1 158,301,098 7,478 4.7 311,591,917 21,413 6.9
2012 154,492,067 14,240 9.2 159,421,973 7,547 4.7 313,914,040 21,795 6.9

Age differences

The number of driver fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles driven in 2008 was 50 percent higher for males (2.1 per 100 million miles traveled) than females (1.4 per 100 million miles traveled). Rates were substantially higher for males than females up to about age 29, but were only slightly higher for ages 30 and older. The gender difference was largest among drivers ages 20-29. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2013. [Unpublished analysis of data from the US Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Household Travel Survey]. Arlington, VA.

Fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled by driver age and gender, 2008
AgeMale FemaleTotal*
Crash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRate
16-19 2,747 47,101,113,156 5.8 1,292 40,725,999,996 3.2 4,040 87,827,113,152 4.6
20-29 7,408 144,498,696,245 5.1 2,816 131,455,554,074 2.110,225 275,954,250,319 3.7
30-59 12,269 885,054,888,347 1.4 5,676 559,809,444,138 1.017,945 1,444,864,332,485 1.2
60-69 2,196 158,220,245,972 1.4 1,014 102,579,182,791 1.0 3,211 260,799,428,763 1.2
≥70 2,498 80,488,354,469 3.1 1,232 41,430,048,664 3.0 3,731 121,918,403,133 3.1
Total* 27,264 1,317,040,742,517 2.112,104 878,100,269,096 1.439,543 2,195,141,011,613 1.8

In 2012, 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 85 and older had the highest fatality rate, followed by males ages 20-24. Fatality rates were lowest for males and females younger than 16.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by age and gender, 2012
AgeMale Female Total*
PopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeathsRate
0-15 33,360,902 476 1.4 31,927,210 424 1.3 65,288,112 900 1.4
16-19 8,844,501 1,266 14.3 8,372,187 700 8.4 17,216,688 1,968 11.4
20-24 11,549,456 2,240 19.4 11,033,747 884 8.0 22,583,203 3,125 13.8
25-29 10,844,886 1,582 14.6 10,553,440 654 6.2 21,398,326 2,236 10.4
30-34 10,493,906 1,169 11.1 10,417,089 513 4.9 20,910,995 1,683 8.0
35-39 9,714,613 970 10.0 9,773,586 426 4.4 19,488,199 1,397 7.2
40-44 10,458,994 875 8.4 10,569,227 470 4.4 21,028,221 1,346 6.4
45-49 10,726,625 897 8.4 10,962,854 427 3.9 21,689,479 1,324 6.1
50-54 11,080,245 909 8.2 11,499,014 516 4.5 22,579,259 1,425 6.3
55-59 10,068,409 831 8.3 10,704,108 441 4.1 20,772,517 1,272 6.1
60-64 8,534,485 703 8.2 9,279,200 385 4.1 17,813,685 1,088 6.1
65-69 6,606,856 587 8.9 7,370,497 363 4.9 13,977,353 950 6.8
70-74 4,596,006 505 11.0 5,412,033 341 6.3 10,008,039 846 8.5
75-79 3,291,452 414 12.6 4,198,131 294 7.0 7,489,583 708 9.5
80-84 2,356,698 402 17.1 3,426,353 324 9.5 5,783,051 726 12.6
≥85 1,964,033 397 20.2 3,923,297 378 9.6 5,887,330 775 13.2
Total 154,492,067 14,240 9.2 159,421,973 7,547 4.7 313,914,040 21,795 6.9

Alcohol involvement

From 1982 to 2012, the proportion of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent has been substantially higher for male drivers than for female drivers.

Estimated number and percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent, 1982-2012
YearMale Female Total*
Drivers killedEstimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08
NumberNumber%NumberNumber%NumberNumber%
1982 15,129 8,529 56 4,534 1,495 33 19,664 10,024 51
1983 14,620 8,070 55 4,716 1,458 31 19,338 9,529 49
1984 14,934 7,856 53 5,366 1,523 28 20,300 9,379 46
1985 14,768 7,325 50 5,288 1,348 25 20,058 8,674 43
1986 15,935 7,950 50 5,564 1,444 26 21,503 9,396 44
1987 16,133 7,787 48 6,022 1,554 26 22,157 9,343 42
1988 16,744 8,080 48 6,140 1,500 24 22,884 9,581 42
1989 16,284 7,710 47 6,269 1,491 24 22,554 9,201 41
1990 15,901 7,591 48 6,049 1,380 23 21,953 8,973 41
1991 14,824 6,916 47 5,727 1,326 23 20,551 8,242 40
1992 14,021 6,216 44 5,550 1,217 22 19,573 7,434 38
1993 14,298 6,114 43 5,737 1,213 21 20,036 7,328 37
1994 14,612 5,898 40 6,034 1,184 20 20,647 7,083 34
1995 15,164 6,216 41 6,293 1,272 20 21,457 7,488 35
1996 15,066 6,063 40 6,563 1,272 19 21,631 7,336 34
1997 15,023 5,819 39 6,683 1,248 19 21,711 7,069 33
1998 14,975 5,712 38 6,651 1,232 19 21,627 6,945 32
1999 15,238 5,832 38 6,658 1,161 17 21,899 6,994 32
2000 15,323 5,844 38 6,495 1,283 20 21,819 7,127 33
2001 15,396 5,954 39 6,465 1,250 19 21,862 7,205 33
2002 15,907 6,182 39 6,629 1,199 18 22,537 7,381 33
2003 15,551 5,938 38 6,647 1,182 18 22,200 7,120 32
2004 15,390 5,804 38 6,562 1,148 17 21,952 6,952 32
2005 15,564 5,897 38 6,386 1,205 19 21,953 7,104 32
2006 15,199 5,776 38 6,390 1,387 22 21,592 7,164 33
2007 14,648 5,841 40 5,892 1,216 21 20,542 7,057 34
2008 13,022 5,211 40 5,239 1,067 20 18,266 6,280 34
2009 11,928 4,743 40 4,905 1,048 21 16,834 5,791 34
2010 11,103 4,114 37 4,923 1,062 22 16,029 5,177 32
2011 10,880 4,112 38 4,677 951 20 15,561 5,065 33
2012 11,182 4,237 38 4,658 943 20 15,842 5,180 33

References