Study: Women much more likely to suffer serious injuries in crashes

Women are at much greater risk than men of sustaining serious injuries in crashes, according to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Researchers found that women are from 37 percent to 73 percent more likely to be seriously injured in front- and side-impact motor vehicle crashes.

Bigger is safer

Why are women more likely to be injured in wrecks? It’s not because they’re more likely to drive drunk, at excess speed or while distracted. The IIHS said the disparity in serious injuries is because women are more likely than men to drive smaller vehicles.

Past research by the IIHS and others has shown that drivers and passengers are less likely to be injured in large vehicles such as SUVs and pick-up trucks.

For the study, IIHS researchers analyzed data from police-reported front- and side-collisions from 1998-2015.

Smaller, lighter

“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,” said Jessica Jermakian, an IIHS vehicle researcher and one of the study’s authors.

Not only are women more likely to be seriously injured, but on a per-crash basis, women are at 20 to 28 percent greater risk than men of being killed in wrecks.

Researchers found that In front-end crashes, women are three times as likely to sustain moderate injuries such as a concussion or broken bone and twice as likely to sustain serious damage such as a traumatic brain injury or collapsed lung.

In side crashes, the odds of suffering moderate injuries are about equal for women and men, while women are about 50 percent more likely to sustain serious injuries.

Types of vehicles

According to the IIHS, the discrepancy in injury rates comes down to vehicle choice. About 70 percent of women crashed in cars, compared to approximately 60 percent of men. More than 20 percent of men were in pick-up crashes, compared to less than five percent of women.

Within those vehicle classes, men tended to drive heavier vehicles, which give more protection in wrecks.

When researchers analyzed a smaller set of compatible crashes – single-vehicle and two-vehicle crashes in which the vehicles were of similar sizes or weights – they found that women were 2.5 times as likely to sustain moderate leg injuries. However, researchers said that because of the small subset size, the statistical difference in injury rates was not significant.

While we hope that readers of our Tampa personal injury blog find these studies useful, we recognize the hard reality of crashes resulting in serious injuries: they can rob people of both their physical health and financial well-being and that discussing these matters with an attorney can be an important step on the road to recovery.

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