If you had to take a guess, who would you say causes the most car accidents? Conventional stereotypes suggest that women are more easily distracted, and therefore they’re more prone to cause crashes.
Whether it’s because they supposedly can’t multitask or because people think they just aren’t as coordinated, it’s pretty common to hear occasional good-natured teasing about a woman’s lack of driving skills.
Women drivers tend to drive fewer miles than men, and they are involved in fewer crashes per mile driven. Men typically drive over the speed limit and are more likely to take risks while driving. This includes more DUIs due to drunk driving and the highest fatality rate for drivers aged 16-24.
So, who has more car accidents male or female drivers? The answer is… it depends. In terms of sheer numbers from sources like the IIHS and FARS, men have higher passenger vehicle occupant deaths, motorcyclist deaths, and pedestrian deaths. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, female drivers cause slightly more accidents per capita than male drivers.
If you look at the statistics, however, you’ll get a different story entirely. From fatal traffic accidents to speeding tickets to DUIs, men are far and away more likely to be involved compared to a woman. And based on the overall stats of the NHTSA, men cause more accidents than women.
While the answer to the question “men or women” is pretty cut-and-dried, it doesn’t quite tell the whole story. To learn more about some relevant statistics on who causes more traffic accidents, just keep reading!
Male drivers are more likely to get a DUI or a traffic ticket
According to the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), there’s no doubt that men are more likely to drive under the influence. Since 1982, the IIHS says, a “substantially higher” number of men have died after becoming intoxicated, driving, and then crashing compared to women.
If you look at the data from 2010, 80% of the DUIs issued in the US were given to men, specifically men under age 34. Adult males under 34 only make up 11% of the population, and they account for 32% of DUIs in the US.
You can see the same disparity when it comes to traffic tickets. Women probably get teased a bit more for rolling stops or turning without a signal, and they get less than a third of traffic tickets in the US. Statistics show that while 927 women are killed each year due to speeding, the number for men is much higher at 3,420.
Male drivers tend to have more severe car crashes than female drivers
According to a 2004 study performed by Scottish researchers, 94% of crashes resulting in injury or death were caused by male. Given the statistics above, that’s a pretty startling number.
The IIHS backs this up with their own data, reporting that men are more prone to driving without safety belts, speeding, and driving under the influence.
The Insurance Information Institute says that in 2017, women caused 13,502 fatal crashes, while men caused 37,477 fatal accidents. Women cause more car accidents per capita than male drivers, and they cause far fewer deaths and fatalities.
Another facet of the story is that women survive fewer serious car accidents than men. This isn’t due to their driving style; it’s because they’re more likely to drive a smaller vehicle, while men are more likely to drive a larger one. When men and women crash in vehicles of similar sizes, their respective survival rates are pretty much identical.
Traffic accidents in the United States – The Big Picture
Researches at the University of Michigan have shed some light on the subject, and this is what they found. Of the 6.5 million traffic accidents they looked at between 1998 – 2007, 60% of them happened with a man behind the wheel. Interestingly, 68% of them involved women, even if only 40% of traffic accidents were caused by women who were actually driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that “Men cause 6.1 million accidents per year and women cause 4.4 millionper year.”
Does this mean that women cause more car accidents, even if they aren’t technically worse? That question falls beyond the scope of this study, so it’s hard to say for sure.
One thing we do know, however, is that men were the drivers in well over half of the car crashes included in the study. Men tend to have more car accidents than women, and they’re also more likely to get traffic tickets and DUIs.
The age factor plays another role in this – younger drivers are more likely to be involved in car crashes than other drivers. According to the IIHS, drivers ages 16-19 are three times as likely to cause a fatal car accident as drivers aged 20 and up.
More recent statistics for car accidents
Data from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) shows that men in the US are responsible for 6.1 million accidents each year on average, while women are responsible for 4.4 million accidents per year on average.
In addition, the data from the US Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that there is a higher percentage of male crash deaths than female driver deaths.
According to these statistics, men cause about 58% of traffic accidents. This makes sense; after all, men also drive more miles each year, 16,550 on average. Women, on the other hand, drive much less, at 10,142 miles each year on average.
If you compare miles driven to how many cars crashes they cause, we see that men are responsible for more car crashes as a whole; and women actually cause more accidents per capita. While men cause about 58% of accidents, they do 62% of the driving. As you can see, the story is a little more complicated than it might seem at first.
Driving under the influence
It’s thought that even though women cause more traffic accidents per capita than men, they’re still less dangerous overall. Why? Because their accidents are more likely to be “fender benders“, or crashes that don’t result in an injury.
A male driver, on the other hand, is a lot more likely to engage in risky driving behavior that may result in serious injuries. Licensed male drivers usually go over the speed limits more often, and they’re more likely to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Age Factor
The adult population or older age group is still more likely to cause a car accident than any other group, but it’s important to note that younger drivers are disproportionately represented when it comes to fatalities.
Furthermore, a 40-year-old who gets married immediately becomes a better driver. They become more aware when traveling with family members. So what does all this mean? As you age, you are more careful when driving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cause an accident.
The miles driver is also another contributing factor. Males drive around 1,7312 miles per/year, whereas women drive 1,0712 miles per/year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. This means that women drive 30% less than men do on an annual basis.
More female drivers have their driver’s licenses compared to men
Having a license isn’t a guarantee that you’ll drive safely. It does mean that you’ve demonstrated an acceptable level of driving skills. Men drive more than women drive, and fewer of them have licenses – 104.3 million men compared to 105.7 million women who have drivers licenses.
This translates to more men driving without a license than women, and this isn’t just an assumption; 9% of fatal traffic accidents involved unlicensed woman drivers, while the number goes up to 14% for men. Females start to become safer drivers with more experience.
In crashes that involve men and women wearing seat belts, the woman is more likely to be injured. This is due to the fact that, on average, they are shorter and weigh less than men. The fact that men drive more miles increases the chances that they will get into an accident.
There are several reasons why men account for more car fatalities, and the most important factor is still human behavior. Men drive their cars over the speed limit more frequently, and they are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors like driving their vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Regardless of who’s responsible, though, accidents often result in damaged vehicles or personal injury. This is why victims of traffic accidents may decide to hire a lawyer specializing in auto accidents from a firm like Morgan & Morgan; if they incurred expenses or injuries from someone else’s mistake, they deserve to be compensated.
No matter what your gender or driving habits happen to be, driving in the US is statistically more dangerous than it has been in years. Even if you feel confident in your driving skills, it never hurts to use extra precautions whenever you hit the road. You never know – it might actually help you, or someone else avoids a car crash someday.