Are Women at Greater Risk of Injury in a Car Crash?

Updated on April 9th, 2024 at 06:37 pm

Vehicle safety technologies have advanced greatly over the years. While advancements like airbags on the steering wheel and a 3-point seat belt system benefit both sexes, one wonders if women are still at a greater risk of injury in a car crash.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report in 2013, a female driver is 13.4% more likely to die in a traffic crash than a male driver despite experiencing similar severity of injuries. Moreover, women are up to 37% more vulnerable to sustaining an injury in car accidents.

For some specific injuries like moderate leg injuries, female drivers are at a 98.5% risk. The increased risk is attributed to the circumstances of the crash and the type of vehicle driven instead of physical differences.

But that’s not all; here’s an in-depth look at the risks women face in fatal crashes.

What’s Behind the Increased Risk to Women?

A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety attributed the increased injury rates to vehicle size and weight and crash type and severity. Experts determined that women are significantly more likely to be driving vehicles than men.

On the other hand, men are 5X more likely to be operating pickup trucks. Even in situations where vehicle types are similar, men drive heavier vehicles. According to the study, the curb weight of the vehicles men drive across various categories, including SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, and passenger cars, is higher.

Generally, a heavier and larger vehicle offers better crash protection for several reasons, including longer vehicles having more distance between car occupants and the point of impact during a frontal crash. Moreover, these vehicles cause more damage to the vehicles they crash with.

Aside from driving lighter and smaller cars than men, women are more likely to be driving a car that’s struck on the side and that’s involved in front-into-rear crashes.

Why Is There Minimal Data on Physiological Factors?

Automobile safety tests are conducted using crash test dummies, which were introduced a couple of decades ago. Until the late 1960s, car crash tests were conducted using live animals, cadavers, and humans.

When crash dummies in the passenger seat were introduced, the world assumed men would dominate the roads. It has taken over half a century for the car industry to realize crash tests should accommodate children, not-so-average men, and women. Because of this, the role physiological differences between women and men play warrants further studies.

Recent Development in Female Crash Test Dummies

Although dummies representing the female body are used for crash testing in 2022, the idea is limited. Female dummies aren’t constructed with specific female variables like spine curvature and body size in consideration.

The female dummy is simply a smaller version of a male dummy, standing at five feet and weighing 110 pounds. The dummy can easily pass for a 12-year-old. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the average woman weighs 170.5 pounds and stands at 5’3”.

Injuries Women Are Likely to Suffer in Car Accidents

In fatal traffic crashes, a female driver is more likely to sustain severe injuries to the chest, head, neck, and abdomen. But in non-fatal car accidents, a female driver is likely to sustain body injuries to the:

  • Leg
  • Arm
  • Neck
  • Abdomen
  • Chest
  • Head

The risk of injury is highest in the limbs and neck.

The increased fatal injury risk in a female driver more than in a male driver can be attributed to females having lower bone density and smaller bones. Since their necks are less muscular, they have a higher risk of getting whiplash injuries than men. Overall, smaller individuals (not just women) don’t tolerate crashes as full-sized men do.

In addition, women have shallower and wider pelvises than men, and fat is concentrated around the thighs and waist in females and around the belly in males.

Injured in a Car Accident?

Despite the automobile industry’s efforts to improve vehicle safety, accidents are inevitable. They can result in severe or moderate injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and concussion. If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you can file for compensation. How much compensation you can get depends on the party at fault and the circumstances of the accident.

But since you are injured, your priority should be getting medical attention and recovery. Hire an experienced car accident attorney to handle the complexities of your claim.

Contact the Car Accident Attorneys of Bruckheim & Patel

When you choose to work with Bruckheim & Patel, you get access to one of the most aggressive DC car accident lawyer in the industry. We’ll use our experience and contacts to investigate your accident, speak to the witnesses, negotiate with insurance companies, acquire police reports, review any medical records, and get a statement of the striking vehicle.

We’ll guide you through what to say when you receive calls from different parties involved in the claim and ensure you get the highest possible compensation. Contact us today at 202-930-3464 for a free consultation.

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