The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says women are more likely to be killed or seriously injured than men in motor vehicle crashes of similar severity.
The nonprofit group released details of the study, which says, while men are involved in more crashes overall, women are more likely to be injured.
The findings are not based on physiological differences
The IIHS says the disturbing conclusion is not related to physical differences between men and women. Instead, the group says it all boils down to the size and types of vehicles as well as the types of crashes involved. Some of the key takeaways from the research include:
- 70% of women involved in crashes are in smaller vehicles compared to 60% of men
- 20% of men are in pickup trucks compared to 5% of women
The IIHS says while men drive more miles and exhibit riskier behavior on the highway, they are more likely to escape injury because they drive larger vehicles that offer more protection during crashes.
Vehicle construction plays a role
Researchers studied front and side crashes between 1998 and 2015 and found:
- Women were three times more likely than men to suffer moderate injuries and twice as likely to suffer severe injuries
- Women were 2.5 times more likely to suffer moderate leg injuries and 70% more likely to suffer serious leg injuries
The study’s authors say these factors also relate to automobile type and driving behavior. While men are more likely to cause accidents and operate the “striking” vehicle, they generally drive heavier-duty vehicles offering more protection. The IIHS says manufacturers could close this gap with safety improvements.
Vehicle choice is the only control drivers have
The Institute says drivers – both men and women – can reduce their injury risks by choosing vehicles with good crash test ratings. The IIHS vehicle rating guide, available online, highlights automobiles that have a lower risk of head and lower body injuries in moderate crashes.