Study finds women more likely than men to die in car accidents

Nashville drivers are probably familiar with statistics and studies showing the number of traffic accidents nationwide and the factors, such as drinking and driving or texting while driving, that contribute to that number. There are many such studies published all the time, and Tennesseans may have learned to gloss over them.

However, a new study puts car accidents in a light Tennesseans may not have considered. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently published a sweeping study of 50 years of car accident data and broke down the figures by age groups of those hurt and killed in the accidents, as well as their seating position in the cars involved.

The study found that younger women are more likely than men to die in car crashes - even when the car crashes are roughly equivalent in terms of their force of impact. Over all age groups, among drivers and passengers, women were 17 percent more likely than men to die in car accidents. That difference is most marked among younger drivers. Among drivers between the ages of 21 and 30, women were nearly 26 percent more likely to die than men in equivalent crashes. Researchers theorized that the higher mortality rates are because men are typically larger and stronger than women.

However, the statistics change as drivers get older. By age 35, men are no more likely than women to survive an equivalent car crash. Once drivers enter the age group of 65 to 74 years old, women are slightly more likely than men to survive an equivalent crash. Researchers said this may be because older women are generally healthier than older men.

The good news is that the risk of dying in a car accident has fallen in recent decades. Between 1955 and 2002, the risk of dying in a car accident fell 42 percent. Researchers say that this is largely attributable to increased use of seat belts, air bags and tighter safety standards.

Still, too many Tennesseans are hurt or killed in traffic accidents. The injured and their families are left with enormous medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. When these losses are caused by another negligent driver, the injured and their families may be compensated through a personal injury lawsuit. The injured should get help researching the law and considering their legal options.

Source: Detroit News, "Study: Younger women more likely to die in equivalent crashes," David Shepardson, May 24, 2013

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