Women are more likely than men to suffer serious injuries in vehicle crashes. But this greater risk is not attributed to physical differences, according to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This personal injury risk, however, was connected to the vehicles driven by women and their accident circumstances.
Men were in more fatal crashes than women according to an analysis of injuries in tow-away front and side crashes from 1998 through 2015 that were reported by police. On a per-crash basis, however, women are 20 to 28 percent more likely than men to be killed in these accidents. Women are also 37 to 73 percent more likely to suffer a serious injury after adjustments are made for speed and other factors.
When IIHS researchers restricted this comparison to similar collisions, however, they discovered that those differences mostly disappeared. Improvements to crashworthiness also benefited men and women almost equally.
The differences are associated with the smaller and lighter vehicles that are driven more by women. Also, women are more likely to be occupants of the vehicle that is struck in side-impact and front-into-rear collisions.
In front crashes, women were three times as likely to have suffer a moderate injury like a broken bone or concussion. Women were twice as likely to have a serious injury like a collapsed lung or traumatic brain injury.
The potential for moderate injuries for men and women were close to equal in side crashes. Women, however, were 50 percent more likely to be seriously injured in these accidents.
Vehicle choice was another factor. Women and men had accidents in minivans and SUVs in close to equal proportions. But around 70 percent of women had crashes in cars compared to approximately 60 percent of men. Over 20 percent of men had accidents in pickups compared to less than five percent of women. Men also tend to have accidents in heavier vehicles that provide more protection.
Analysis of data from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System indicates that men are more likely to drive the vehicle that caused the impact in two-vehicle front-to-rear and front-to-side accidents. Men would be less likely to suffer injuries because the driver of the striking vehicle has lower injury risks.
Gender may account for differences in one area. In compatible car accidents, women were 2½ times as likely to suffer moderate leg injuries. Women were also about 70 more likely to receive serious leg injuries even though that figure was not statistically significant.
Attorneys can help accident victims hold negligent drivers responsible. Lawyers may help assure that their right to compensation may be pursued in court.