The old argument of who are worse drivers—men or women—never seems to die. While car accidents are never fun no matter who is causing them, it’s understandable that you might be curious, so we did a little digging to find out who causes more collisions, and you may be surprised why.
According to researchers at the University of Michigan, who analyzed 6.5 million car crashes in the United States between 1998 and 2007, women drivers were found to be involved in 68.1% of all crashes. Interestingly, the researchers also found that men were driving 60% of the time overall, while women were only driving 40% of the time. In other words, despite women driving less often, they were more frequently the ones causing accidents. However, this isn’t necessarily saying that women are poorer drivers than men, just that they more commonly get into accidents. So, why might that be?
Men. Males drive more miles per year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Federal Highway Administration supports their finding and reports that men drive an average of 16,550 miles each year. Women drive an average of 10,142 miles annually. Ultimately, women drive 30% less than men do on an annual basis.
Furthermore, women are more likely to have driver’s licenses than men. According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 104.3 million men and 105.7 million women in the U.S. have drivers’ licenses. As you might imagine based on these numbers, there are more unlicensed men driving around than women. Fourteen percent of car crash fatalities involved unlicensed male drivers, whereas the number for women was only 9%.
Men. The IIHS reports that crashes with male drivers are more “severe.” Another study, done by Scottish researchers in 2004, stated that male drivers caused 94% of accidents that caused death or bodily harm.
The IIHS also reports that males are more likely to speed, drive without seat belts, and drive while intoxicated. Since 1982, speeding has been a contributing factor in driver deaths for men more often than for women. According to the Insurance Information Institute, male drivers were responsible for 37,477 fatal crashes while women were responsible for just 13,502 fatal accidents in 2017. The University of Michigan reports that women drive less yet have a lower fatality rate per mile driven than men.
Women, though, despite being more likely to buy safer (and more gas-economical) cars, are less likely to survive serious car accidents. Why? Female drivers die in more crashes because the men who hit them are more likely to be driving big trucks. According to the IIHS, when cars of the same size hit each other, survival rates among the genders are even.
Men. Less than 30% of all traffic violations are given to women drivers. Statistics show, for example, the number of men killed in accidents involving speeding is 3,420, whereas the number of women killed in speeding accidents is just 927.
Men. Since 1982, the number of male drivers that die because they were driving intoxicated and crashed has been “substantially higher” than female drivers, reports the IIHS. In 2010, men were arrested for four out of five of the DUIs that occurred in the US. The disparity is particularly pronounced in male drivers under age 34. This demographic is only 11% of the adult population but accounts for 32% of the DUIs nationwide.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that men cause an average of 6.1 million accidents per year in the US, and women cause 4.4 million accidents per year. Males do 62% of the driving, but only cause 58% of the accidents. So women do cause slightly more accidents per capita than men. A study by the University of Michigan found that female drivers mostly cause “fender benders” (non-injury accidents). Considering that women are safer drivers on every front than men, why might they be involved in more fender benders?
One of the reasons women may find themselves involved in car accidents more often is because since men do more of the driving overall, women may have less experience and may not be as confident behind the wheel. Another reason may be that women are typically shorter than men and may not be able to see as well, especially at intersections. Another study, done by Scottish researchers in 2004, however, stated the opposite; in their research, they found that male drivers caused 94% of accidents that caused death or bodily harm.
No matter who causes the accidents, they can be devastating. From medical bills to damaged property, you may end up with quite a bit of expense to make up. That’s why car accident lawyers are so helpful—they can help fight for your right to be compensated.
Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.
Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2023