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Are car accidents more dangerous for women?

Statistics show that men outnumber women in the numbers of people killed in motor vehicle accidents in Kentucky and across the nation. However, statistics also show that women are more likely than men to suffer serious injury in car accidents. Researchers have long struggled to understand how these two statistics relate to each other.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 26,380 men died in motor vehicle accidents in 2017. Only 10,697 women died in motor vehicle accidents that year. However, the IIHS notes that when comparing crashes of equal severity, researchers find that women are more likely to suffer injury or death. One study found that in accidents where women and men wore seatbelts, women were almost 50% more likely to be fatally or seriously injured than men. Other studies have found the figures even worse for women.

Motor vehicle accident researchers believe the reason more men die is mostly attributable to the fact that more men drive, and drive more miles, than women. In addition, the IIHS notes that men are more likely than women to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding and drunk driving. This is especially true for young men. Researchers attribute women’s vulnerability in car crashes to the fact that women are generally smaller than men.

Recently, a University of Virginia study looked further into the question of women’s vulnerability in car crashes and found another possible factor. The study looked at the effectiveness of automobile safety features such as seatbelts and airbags and found that they have been more effective at protecting men than women. Researchers found one possible reason: The crash test dummies automobile manufacturers use to test these safety features are made to represent the average man. Since women are typically smaller than men, and come in different shapes than men, good results for the crash test dummy do not necessarily predict good results for a real woman.

The injured and their families may seek compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and more, if their accident was caused by another driver’s negligence. A personal injury attorney can advise the injured and their families about their options.