Gender | 2017

Many 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.

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

Posted December 2018.

Trends

For nearly every year from 1975 to 2017, the number of male crash deaths was more than twice the number of female crash deaths, but the gap has narrowed. From 1975 to 2017, male crash deaths declined by 19 percent and female crash deaths declined by 10 percent. Since 1975, motorcyclist deaths have increased by more than 150% among both males and females.

Motor vehicle crash deaths by type and gender, 1975-2017
YearPassenger vehicle drivers Passenger vehicle passengers Large truck drivers Large truck passengers Pedestrians Bicyclists Motorcyclists Total motor vehicle deaths*
Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
1975 15,706 3,642 6,069 5,095 542 4 88 24 5,196 2,319 820 183 2,928 252 32,675 11,844
1976 16,013 4,078 6,206 5,330 667 6 102 34 5,120 2,307 751 163 3,015 291 33,038 12,481
1977 16,499 4,442 6,242 5,542 760 7 104 44 5,331 2,400 730 192 3,758 341 34,627 13,248
1978 17,974 4,782 6,373 5,659 799 15 100 49 5,494 2,296 714 178 4,173 401 36,731 13,591
1979 18,273 4,836 6,430 5,388 817 10 140 41 5,701 2,391 759 173 4,452 440 37,588 13,498
1980 18,110 4,877 6,439 5,438 709 9 99 49 5,613 2,454 782 183 4,684 453 37,392 13,689
1981 17,592 4,910 5,972 5,077 680 10 94 46 5,459 2,332 748 181 4,484 412 35,930 13,161
1982 15,129 4,534 5,298 4,609 591 9 77 41 5,144 2,185 720 144 4,093 356 31,879 12,062
1983 14,620 4,716 5,022 4,699 611 4 81 35 4,775 2,050 700 130 3,934 326 30,499 12,084
1984 14,934 5,366 5,094 4,605 706 14 85 43 5,016 2,005 684 153 4,229 373 31,541 12,709
1985 14,768 5,288 5,009 4,704 620 12 77 33 4,671 2,133 732 137 4,191 371 30,959 12,856
1986 15,935 5,564 5,667 4,931 579 10 67 32 4,771 2,004 789 140 4,231 333 32,856 13,191
1987 16,133 6,022 5,782 5,093 551 8 51 42 4,777 1,967 826 114 3,695 339 32,621 13,757
1988 16,744 6,140 5,815 5,293 606 8 65 25 4,756 2,111 773 128 3,401 259 32,947 14,123
1989 16,284 6,269 5,562 5,408 539 7 57 38 4,594 1,959 696 126 2,882 253 31,338 14,232
1990 15,901 6,049 5,587 5,061 429 7 47 19 4,495 1,985 732 121 2,987 256 30,916 13,665
1991 14,824 5,727 5,231 4,904 403 4 25 16 3,985 1,815 715 121 2,578 227 28,545 12,953
1992 14,021 5,550 4,995 4,779 358 11 27 14 3,867 1,679 627 90 2,211 183 26,772 12,444
1993 14,298 5,737 5,014 4,869 373 10 28 12 3,936 1,711 702 104 2,234 211 27,322 12,814
1994 14,612 6,034 5,041 5,022 381 7 40 25 3,757 1,732 687 109 2,108 209 27,411 13,293
1995 15,164 6,293 5,203 5,137 389 11 30 13 3,856 1,728 699 128 2,023 203 28,133 13,663
1996 15,066 6,563 5,379 5,260 380 4 33 7 3,780 1,667 654 107 1,966 195 28,061 13,991
1997 15,023 6,683 5,231 5,294 419 8 34 19 3,643 1,677 712 99 1,926 190 27,827 14,168
1998 14,975 6,651 5,007 5,047 427 14 38 22 3,558 1,670 658 99 2,088 206 27,608 13,885
1999 15,238 6,658 5,044 4,979 457 13 43 23 3,466 1,472 656 94 2,257 225 28,040 13,667
2000 15,323 6,495 5,381 4,831 443 14 25 30 3,251 1,512 613 76 2,618 277 28,545 13,396
2001 15,396 6,465 5,275 4,705 403 11 48 13 3,421 1,479 657 72 2,902 293 28,986 13,205
2002 15,907 6,629 5,361 4,737 397 12 40 20 3,298 1,552 590 73 2,959 308 29,466 13,529
2003 15,551 6,647 5,209 4,682 420 14 34 21 3,274 1,499 554 71 3,338 372 29,346 13,532
2004 15,390 6,562 5,103 4,638 433 7 43 24 3,237 1,435 626 96 3,591 433 29,443 13,387
2005 15,564 6,386 4,936 4,489 460 19 39 15 3,450 1,441 687 97 4,128 447 30,347 13,155
2006 15,199 6,390 4,707 4,223 455 11 36 19 3,332 1,459 675 94 4,387 423 29,849 12,842
2007 14,648 5,892 4,498 4,038 464 8 27 12 3,288 1,411 616 83 4,710 464 29,173 12,080
2008 13,022 5,239 3,910 3,314 382 10 33 13 3,078 1,331 624 92 4,835 471 26,744 10,665
2009 11,928 4,905 3,410 3,215 272 8 20 8 2,827 1,282 549 79 4,031 436 23,776 10,098
2010 11,103 4,923 3,257 3,022 302 9 24 11 2,961 1,339 537 84 4,079 438 22,988 10,006
2011 10,880 4,677 3,017 2,791 365 8 23 11 3,102 1,354 581 99 4,201 429 22,937 9,534
2012 11,234 4,681 3,029 2,904 371 5 25 14 3,337 1,478 639 89 4,527 457 23,961 9,809
2013 10,957 4,617 2,912 2,811 359 4 27 11 3,277 1,496 647 99 4,274 417 23,243 9,638
2014 10,978 4,514 2,786 2,798 373 6 23 6 3,426 1,477 640 81 4,190 403 23,266 9,463
2015 11,828 4,795 2,980 3,072 376 11 26 8 3,832 1,654 706 121 4,559 466 25,179 10,284
2016 12,504 5,129 3,054 3,204 422 4 28 15 4,245 1,810 714 128 4,872 462 26,773 10,988
2017 12,500 5,151 2,949 3,048 419 6 35 8 4,177 1,769 687 87 4,724 446 26,380 10,697

Seventy-one percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2017 were males. Males accounted for 71 percent of passenger vehicle driver deaths, 49 percent of passenger vehicle passenger deaths, 99 percent of large truck driver deaths, 81 percent of large truck passenger deaths, 70 percent of pedestrian deaths, 88 percent of bicyclist deaths, and 91 percent of motorcyclist deaths.

Number and percent of motor vehicle crash deaths by type and gender, 2017
GenderPassenger vehicle drivers Passenger vehicle passengers Large truck drivers Large truck passengers Pedestrians Bicyclists Motorcyclists Total motor vehicle deaths*
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
Male 12,500 71 2,949 49 419 99 35 81 4,177 70 687 88 4,724 91 26,380 71
Female 5,151 29 3,048 51 6 1 8 19 1,769 30 87 11 446 9 10,697 29
Total* 17,662 100 5,998 100 425 100 43 100 5,977 100 777 100 5,172 100 37,133 100

Per capita passenger vehicle occupant death rates during 1975 to 2017 have been 1.8 to 2.6 times higher for males than for females. From 1975 to 2017, the rate of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people decreased 53 percent among males and 37 percent among females. 

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by gender, 1975-2017
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 14,304 9.3 159,421,973 7,598 4.8 313,914,040 21,906 7.0
2013 155,651,602 13,913 8.9 160,477,237 7,442 4.6 316,128,839 21,361 6.8
2014 156,936,487 13,803 8.8 161,920,569 7,325 4.5 318,857,056 21,131 6.6
2015 158,229,297 14,852 9.4 163,189,523 7,878 4.8 321,418,820 22,741 7.1
2016 159,243,817 15,590 9.8 164,162,118 8,359 5.1 323,405,935 23,957 7.4
2017 160,408,119 15,488 9.7 165,311,059 8,208 5.0 325,719,178 23,708 7.3

Age differences

The number of driver fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles driven in 2017 was 62 percent higher for males (2.1 per 100 million miles traveled) than for females (1.3 per 100 million miles traveled). Rates were substantially higher for males than for females ages 16-29, 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. 2018. [Unpublished analysis of 2017 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, 2017
AgeMale FemaleTotal*
Crash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRate
16-19 1,975 31,732,691,896 6.2 951 30,677,731,652 3.1 2,928 62,410,423,548 4.7
20-29 7,028 187,497,565,846 3.7 3,198 198,148,511,278 1.610,228 385,646,077,124 2.7
30-59 12,822 785,270,175,131 1.6 6,103 558,224,868,022 1.118,930 1,343,495,043,154 1.4
60-69 2,912 207,918,951,320 1.4 1,344 136,711,746,704 1.0 4,256 344,630,698,024 1.2
≥70 2,998 104,684,593,355 2.9 1,474 66,739,614,422 2.2 4,472 171,424,207,778 2.6
Total* 27,841 1,317,554,258,040 2.113,110 991,113,520,587 1.341,221 2,308,667,778,627 1.8

In 2017, 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 years. Male passenger vehicle occupants 85 and older had the highest fatality rate, followed by males ages 80-84 and 20-24. Fatality rates were lowest among occupants 0-15 years old for both males and females.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by age and gender, 2017
AgeMale Female Total*
PopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeathsRate
0-15 33,267,990 484 1.5 31,868,122 448 1.4 65,136,112 932 1.4
16-19 8,701,682 1,179 13.5 8,315,418 655 7.9 17,017,100 1,835 10.8
20-24 11,349,142 2,004 17.7 10,769,493 934 8.7 22,118,635 2,939 13.3
25-29 11,902,230 1,740 14.6 11,468,230 734 6.4 23,370,460 2,474 10.6
30-34 11,089,131 1,333 12.0 10,883,081 573 5.3 21,972,212 1,907 8.7
35-39 10,615,985 1,181 11.1 10,616,012 473 4.5 21,231,997 1,654 7.8
40-44 9,753,115 900 9.2 9,890,258 487 4.9 19,643,373 1,388 7.1
45-49 10,386,175 938 9.0 10,587,683 480 4.5 20,973,858 1,419 6.8
50-54 10,520,182 978 9.3 10,880,912 480 4.4 21,401,094 1,458 6.8
55-59 10,700,520 998 9.3 11,307,436 507 4.5 22,007,956 1,505 6.8
60-64 9,557,283 890 9.3 10,430,419 462 4.4 19,987,702 1,352 6.8
65-69 7,929,868 671 8.5 8,906,513 413 4.6 16,836,381 1,084 6.4
70-74 5,947,272 607 10.2 6,899,793 400 5.8 12,847,065 1,007 7.8
75-79 3,898,816 553 14.2 4,842,445 411 8.5 8,741,261 964 11.0
80-84 2,509,059 475 18.9 3,456,231 332 9.6 5,965,290 807 13.5
≥85 2,279,669 537 23.6 4,189,013 407 9.7 6,468,682 944 14.6
Total 160,408,119 15,488 9.7 165,311,059 8,208 5.0 325,719,178 23,708 7.3

Alcohol involvement

Each year from 1982 to 2017, the proportion of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent has been substantially higher for males than for females.

Estimated number and percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent, 1982-2017
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 11,234 4,263 38 4,681 941 20 15,915 5,205 33
2013 10,957 4,121 38 4,617 985 21 15,577 5,109 33
2014 10,978 3,937 36 4,514 967 21 15,495 4,906 32
2015 11,828 3,916 33 4,795 998 21 16,629 4,916 30
2016 12,504 4,118 33 5,129 1,027 20 17,641 5,149 29
2017 12,500 4,037 32 5,151 1,026 20 17,662 5,065 29

Speeding

Each year from 1982 to 2017, speeding was identified as a contributing factor for a greater proportion of male drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes than for female drivers killed in crashes.

Percentage of fatally injured male and female drivers who were coded as speeding, 1982-2017
YearMale Female Total*
Drivers killedSpeeding relatedDrivers killedSpeeding relatedDrivers killedSpeeding related
NumberNumber%NumberNumber%NumberNumber%
1982 15,129 5,682 38 4,534 1,068 24 19,664 6,750 34
1983 14,620 5,250 36 4,716 1,060 22 19,338 6,310 33
1984 14,934 5,384 36 5,366 1,197 22 20,300 6,581 32
1985 14,768 5,515 37 5,288 1,256 24 20,058 6,771 34
1986 15,935 6,110 38 5,564 1,302 23 21,503 7,413 34
1987 16,133 5,977 37 6,022 1,414 23 22,157 7,392 33
1988 16,744 6,294 38 6,140 1,399 23 22,884 7,693 34
1989 16,284 5,905 36 6,269 1,453 23 22,554 7,358 33
1990 15,901 5,573 35 6,049 1,275 21 21,953 6,850 31
1991 14,824 5,206 35 5,727 1,284 22 20,551 6,490 32
1992 14,021 4,782 34 5,550 1,205 22 19,573 5,988 31
1993 14,298 4,732 33 5,737 1,197 21 20,036 5,930 30
1994 14,612 4,688 32 6,034 1,276 21 20,647 5,965 29
1995 15,164 5,040 33 6,293 1,353 22 21,457 6,393 30
1996 15,066 4,942 33 6,563 1,439 22 21,631 6,383 30
1997 15,023 4,852 32 6,683 1,449 22 21,711 6,303 29
1998 14,975 4,802 32 6,651 1,361 20 21,627 6,163 28
1999 15,238 4,779 31 6,658 1,353 20 21,899 6,134 28
2000 15,323 4,659 30 6,495 1,398 22 21,819 6,057 28
2001 15,396 4,792 31 6,465 1,309 20 21,862 6,102 28
2002 15,907 5,348 34 6,629 1,461 22 22,537 6,809 30
2003 15,551 5,041 32 6,647 1,451 22 22,200 6,492 29
2004 15,390 4,948 32 6,562 1,399 21 21,952 6,347 29
2005 15,564 5,149 33 6,386 1,392 22 21,953 6,542 30
2006 15,199 5,141 34 6,390 1,448 23 21,592 6,590 31
2007 14,648 4,939 34 5,892 1,291 22 20,542 6,231 30
2008 13,022 4,368 34 5,239 1,211 23 18,266 5,579 31
2009 11,928 3,964 33 4,905 1,099 22 16,834 5,063 30
2010 11,103 3,704 33 4,923 1,172 24 16,029 4,878 30
2011 10,880 3,609 33 4,677 1,013 22 15,561 4,624 30
2012 11,234 3,681 33 4,681 1,056 23 15,915 4,737 30
2013 10,957 3,433 31 4,617 1,020 22 15,577 4,455 29
2014 10,978 3,329 30 4,514 920 20 15,495 4,250 27
2015 11,828 3,363 28 4,795 956 20 16,629 4,320 26
2016 12,504 3,511 28 5,129 1,035 20 17,641 4,549 26
2017 12,500 3,345 27 5,151 913 18 17,662 4,261 24

References