Female Drivers Are at a Greater Risk of Injury on the Roadways and Here’s Why…
Did you know women are much more likely than men to suffer a serious injury when they are involved in a car crash? According to Jessica Jermakian, Vice President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, women are about 73% more likely to be seriously injured, and 28% more likely to be killed in a car crash than men. Several factors should be considered when trying to determine the discrepancy, but the main issue may surprise you.
For instance, the frontal crash test required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is only performed using a male driver. Beyond the lack of a crash test dummy representative of an average female body, there is no mandated test that simulates a female driver. The tests that are done when “accounting for a female driver” are completed with a dummy that is merely a scaled-down version of the male dummy – a five-star safety rating for a car or truck means it was highly rated for a 5-foot-9-inch, 170-pound man. This fails to account for the differences between men’s and women’s bone density, body shape, and muscular structure.
Testing Women’s Safety in Vehicles
These discrepancies have prompted calls for new crash test dummies and other changes to crash-testing programs, so as to better reflect how women’s bodies react to the forces of automobile collisions. Based on these requests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHS), conducted further studies. They analyzed the injuries of men and women in police-reported tow-away front and side crashes from 1998 through 2015.
After careful analysis, the results showed serious and fatal injury risk has declined more for women than men as vehicles have gotten safer. So why are women still at a higher risk of injury or death?
In one separate analysis of data from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the researchers also found that in two-vehicle front-to-rear and front-to-side crashes, men are more likely to be driving the striking vehicle. The driver of the striking vehicle is at a lower risk of injury than the struck vehicle in such crashes, which could explain some of the differences in crash outcomes between men and women.
The heightened risk, however, may be more accurately attributed to the types of vehicles women drive and the circumstances surrounding their crashes, rather than physical disparities alone. “Women more often drive smaller, lighter cars and they’re more likely than men to be driving the struck vehicle in side-impact and front-into-rear crashes,” according to Jessica Jermakian of IHS. Also, because men tend to crash while driving heavier cars and trucks, they have more protection from injuries as a result.
According to an article published by Fast Company, “The industry knows that heavy passenger trucks put women at tremendous risk—a 1988 Oxford University study found conclusively that the ‘principal determinant of death is the weight of the vehicle concerned’.”
While given this information, the motor vehicle industry, unrestrained by government regulations and driven by consumer demand, persists in building bigger and more lethal cars year-over-year.
So what can women do to protect themselves? First, they should consider choosing a vehicle that does well in rigorous crash tests. Also, we consumers should demand more accountability from government regulators and car manufacturers. The NHTSA could require that both male and female dummies be tested in the driver’s seat. This problem could be fixed right now. The cost of this solution would increase the cost of a new vehicle for a car buyer by less than a dollar and save the lives of thousands of women.
Within the House of Representatives INVEST in America Act is a provision requiring a regularly updated and more equitable dummy implementation tested in every seat. This could bring the New Car Assessment Program into this century and accomplish what other countries have long ago accomplished. If not now, when?
You have one chance to get it right. With over 27 years of experience, C. Todd Smith Law is committed to getting you the best possible result. You don’t have to do this alone; we are here to help.
𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐘𝐎𝐔 𝐌𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫.
𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝘃𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝗷𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗖. 𝗧𝗼𝗱𝗱 𝗦𝗺𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗟𝗮𝘄 𝘁𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗘 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. 𝟰𝟬𝟳-𝟴𝟰𝟭-𝟴𝟮𝟵𝟰 . 𝗟𝗲𝘁 𝘂𝘀 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘂𝗹𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲. ☎️