How Teen Driver Gender Is Linked To Crash Type

Young women and men crash in different ways and at different times

A new study from Kansas State University found that young men and women crash their cars at different times and in different ways.

Researchers combed through data from the Kansas state transportation department's crash database, which contains more than 150 variables about all police-reported motor vehicle crashes, Newswise reported. They looked at data between 2007 and 2011 for accidents involving young drivers, aged 16 to 24 years old.

The differences between the two genders were striking. For instance, young women had more crashes at intersections and with pedestrians. A recent University of Michigan study postulated that this could be due to height differences. Modern cars have higher in-car "belt-lines," which is the height of the door relative to the driver before the window glass begins. These high belt-lines might make it harder for women to see.

The study also found that women crashed more often during weekdays during the workday hours while young men were more likely to crash at night on weekends. Men were more likely to have an off-road crash and for a crash to be deadly. Researchers found that young women were 66 percent more likely to wear a seatbelt, but they were also 28 percent more likely to drive on a restricted license.

In 2008, the fatal crash involvement rate per 100,000 people was almost three times higher for male drivers than for females, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Males also accounted for 71 percent of all traffic fatalities, 70 percent of all pedestrian fatalities and 87 percent of all cyclist fatalities. These statistics are a big reason why the average single 20-year-old woman pays 23 percent less than a single 20-year-old man for the same car insurance policy.

Researchers hope to use this data to create targeted educational information catering to the separate needs of young male and female drivers.

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