New Study Shows Women are More Likely to be Injured in Car Accidents

Posted on: March 24, 2021

Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a study that indicates that women are more likely than men to be severely injured in car accidents. At first, one might believe that this discrepancy is due to the physical differences between the sexes, but that is not the case. In fact, researchers took measures to eliminate these factors. Over the years, critics have claimed that crash testing has not focused enough on accident threats to women. Many advocate for the incorporation of smaller crash-test dummies that are closer to the proportions of an average female.

The initial data compiled by the IIHS confirmed that men are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents due to a higher propensity for speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors. When looking at per-crash rates, the data showed that women are 20 to 28 percent more at-risk of being killed and 37 to 73 percent more susceptible to serious injuries. Researchers concluded that crash testing and auto safety improvements are able to provide valuable vehicle safety information for both sexes.

What Types of Accidents were Evaluated?

The IIHS team reviewed data collected on injuries sustained by men and women in head-on collisions and side-impact car accidents. The study focused on data collected in tow-away accidents that had been reported to the police. The data involved both single-car accidents and two-vehicle crashes that occurred from 1998 to 2015. The study singled out accidents that involved small passenger cars in which the airbag had been deployed.

The biggest discrepancies between the two sexes were found in front-end accidents. The data suggests that head-on crashes put women at three times the risk for moderate injuries, such as broken bones or concussions. Women in front-end accidents are more likely to suffer serious brain and major organ injuries as well. Side-impact accidents caused 50 percent more serious injuries in women compared to their male counterparts.

Which Factors Increased Severe and Fatal Injuries Among Women?

Focusing on serious front-end and side-impact collisions, researchers concluded that two factors played a role in putting women at greater risk in accidents:

Vehicle Choice

When comparing crash data, the body shapes of the vehicles involved in the accidents contributed to the reported injuries. Women are more likely to drive smaller cars, which are not as protective in car crashes. When researchers compared accidents of men and women driving minivans or SUVs, they found that the crash rates were similar. When smaller vehicle accidents were analyzed, 70 percent of the crashes involved women. Only 60 percent of men who crashed were in cars. Pick-up trucks were driven by 20 percent of men in the study, but women pick-up drivers only accounted for five percent of female victims. Men tended to crash vehicles that were bigger, which caused them to have better protection.

Being Struck by Opposing Car

The second factor that makes women more vulnerable to injuries in accidents is that they are more often inside the car that is struck. Researchers included data from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System as part of the study. The data indicated that male drivers are more apt to hit other cars in front-to-rear and front-to-side crashes. The occupants of the vehicle who receive the initial impact are more at-risk for serious injuries.

Why is the New Study Important?

The IIHS plans to use the findings of the study to evaluate what improvements can be made to its vehicle testing program. One of the lead researchers on the project said that there are many benefits that come from the information found in the report. One revelation that requires more research is the discovery that women are much more likely than men to sustain leg injuries in the types of crashes that were studied.

The findings of the study will support the efforts to give consumers useful safety information on crash test ratings and vehicle safety features that reduce injuries for both men and women. For example, safety feature improvements to seat belts, airbags, and protective cabin reinforcements have upgraded safety for both men and women. Yet, the disparities revealed by the study indicate that there still needs to be improvements in smaller vehicles, such as automatic emergency braking and other preemptive auto safety equipment.

Auto safety continues to be improved, but car accidents are still prevalent throughout the United States. After a collision, it is important to speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible who can obtain the compensation needed for severe injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Advocate for the Safety of All Motorists

The data from the study indicates that auto safety needs to be improved, especially for female motorists. If you were seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you might be able to collect reparations from the at-fault driver. A Hazlet car accident lawyer at Mikita & Roccanova can help you secure fair compensation to cover your medical bills and other costs from your accident. Complete our online form or call us at 732-705-3363 for a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.