We’ve all heard the jokes that men make about being better drivers than their female counterparts, but is it more of an ego thing? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, men are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than women are. However, The IIHS also notes that men drive more miles each year but they are more likely to take more risks. Drunk driving, speeding and not wearing seat belts account for more male car accident deaths than any other contributing factors.
Although the number of miles driven by women increased 13% from 1995 to 2008, and men drove only 8% more in the same time period, women are less likely to be involved in a vehicle related accident. The good news is that there has been an overall trend of fewer fatal accidents for both men and women. Male motor vehicle deaths declined 30%, while female deaths declined 16% from 1975 to 2010. The only statistic that has increased is the number of motorcycle deaths, for both sexes, which has doubled since 1997.
Motor vehicle deaths by gender, 1975-2010
Image Source: Insurance Institute of Highway Safety/IIHS.org
One thing that is not a myth is the relation between the driver’s age and number of fatalities. Male drivers age 15 to 19 are significantly more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. There are many stereotypes as to why this happens and we have probably heard most of them. Male teenage drivers are known for using the car as a toy by speeding and doing other things they shouldn’t. According to the IIHS, one of the main contributing factors is not being able to properly recognize dangerous situations.
Image Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/CDC.gov
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Nearly one third of all teen deaths, male and female, in the U.S. are the result of auto accidents. What stays the same is the fact that female drivers are less likely to be involved in a fatal accident, no matter what age group. Sadly however, the majority of the fatalities are the occupants of the vehicle and not the drivers. Eighty-three percent of all teenage auto deaths were passengers.
More states are adopting a graduated driver’s license program for teenagers and seeing significant results. Colorado alone saw a 54% decline in number of teenage related auto deaths between 2003 and 2008. Colorado is just one of the states adopting the GDL program, but the results are the same nationwide. Better driver’s education requirements and stringent teenage driving laws seem to be having the desired results.
Nevertheless, to answer the original question: Statistics show that women are less likely to be involved in an auto accident, but men also drive more miles on average per year. So ladies, tell you man that there is empirical evidence to support your “better driver” claims. Gentlemen, just remember you might drive more miles.