July 1, 2011

According to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, about 1,470,000 men in the state had active driving privileges in 2010. For women, the number was almost 1,450,000. That’s about a 2 percent difference. A recent study, though, showed that women are far more likely to be involved in car accidents – specifically, two-vehicle crashes — than men.

The study looked at data from 1998 to 2007, focusing on police-reported crashes. The researchers identified six types of accidents from the reports, using crash angles, speed and direction of approach as criteria. The scenarios involved crashing head-on, side swiping and turning in front of another vehicle.

Notably, the scenarios were defined by driver behavior. The reports did not include information on type of car, weather or road conditions. (The researchers did note that, sometimes, people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.)

What was included was the gender of the driver of each vehicle. The data were refined into three gender-based accident categories: male-female, male-male and female-female. So, it’s not just that women are more likely to crash. Rather, it’s that two women are more likely to crash than two men.

The result was surprising. One key element of the analysis was the number of miles traveled. Men, it turned out, traveled about 60 percent of all “personal travel” miles. The researchers hypothesized that men would, then, be in more accidents.

How big a difference was there in this battle of the sexes? We’ll discuss that in our next post.

Source: University of Michigan News Service, “Women drivers involved more than men in certain kinds of crashes,” 06/09/2011


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