New study shows women more likely to be injured in car crash
Research shows women are more likely than men to suffer a serious injury in a crash, but this isn't due to physical differences
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN)- New research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that in a car crash, women are more likely than men to suffer a serious injury, but this isn’t due to physical differences.
The research showed that the elevated risk is related to the type of vehicle women drive and the circumstances of the crash.
“Our study shows that today’s crash-testing programs have helped women as much as men,” says Jessica Jermakian, IIHS vice president of vehicle research, one of the study’s authors. “That said, we found that women are substantially more likely to suffer leg injuries, which is something that will require more investigation.”
In the release, IIHS said that men are involved in more fatal crashes than their counterparts. But on a basis of per-crash, women are 20-28 % more likely to be killed and 37-73 % more likely to have a serious injury after adjusting for speed and other factors.
“The numbers indicate that women more often drive smaller, lighter cars and that they’re more likely than men to be driving the struck vehicle in side-impact and front-into-rear crashes,” says Jermakian. “Once you account for that, the difference in the odds of most injuries narrows dramatically.”
IIHS was looking to bring light to the issue through this new study, hoping to see what changes to their vehicle testing program may be needed.
Researches looked at the injuries of women and men in police-reported tow-away side and front crashes from 1998-2015 for the study.
When they looked at front crashes, researchers found that women are 3 times as likely to sustain a “moderate injury”, like a broken bone or concussion, and 2 times as likely to suffer a serious injury to the lungs or brain.
While looking at side collisions, “moderate injury” odds were around the same for women and men, but women are about 50% more likely to be seriously injured.
“To determine how much of the discrepancy was due to physical differences between men and women, the researchers then repeated the analysis with a limited set of “compatible” front crashes. This subset was restricted to single-vehicle crashes and two-vehicle crashes in which the vehicles were a similar size or weight or the crash configuration was such that size or weight difference would not have played a big role. To further reduce differences between crashes, only those with a front airbag deployment were included,” the news release said.
There were not enough side crash cases to analyze them in the same way.
When it comes to vehicle choice, over 20% of men crashed in pickups and only about 5% of women did. About 70% of women crashed in cars and only about 60% of men have. The study showed that men tend to crash in heavier vehicles, which give more protection most of the time in crashes.
“The good news is that changes like strengthening the occupant compartment and improving seat belts and airbags have helped protect both men and women,” says Jermakian. “Homing in on the risk disparities that still exist in compatible crashes gives us a great opportunity to make further gains.”