According to the findings in a report released last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the difference in death rates between men and women has narrowed significantly since the 2000 model year.
The report, Women’s Risk of Death in Road Traffic Accidents Compared to Men under Similar Physical Impacts, updates a 2013 NHTSA study that examines women’s risk of death compared to men’s risk of death in crashes with similar physical impacts.
“While the new NHTSA report shows a significant reduction in the difference in road traffic outcomes between women and men, more work is needed to address any remaining differences,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA administrator.
According to the report, the estimated difference in the risk of death for women compared with the risk of death for men is significantly reduced in new cars, starting as early as the 2000 model year. The newer the car, the smaller the discrepancy. The overall gap narrows from 18% to 6.3% for 2010-2020 vehicles and to 2.9% for 2015-2020 vehicles.
The decline is due to the Highway Traffic Safety Agency’s adoption of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for seat belts and airbags and its educational campaigns to improve seat belt use.
The study found, for example, that less than a third of passengers were wearing seat belts in crashes included in the study involving model year 1960-2009 vehicles. In vehicles from 2010 to 2020, almost 83 percent of the passengers were wearing seat belts.
Some additional key findings of the study include:
- The estimated difference in mortality risk scores between women and men in the front row was approximately 6.3 percent for model year 2010-2020 vehicles, well below the estimated 18.3 percent for model year 1960-2009 vehicles. The estimated difference is further reduced to around 2.9 percent for vehicles in the latest model year (2015-2020).
- Newer generations of vehicles equipped with dual airbags reduce the perceived risk of death for women compared to men.
- When passengers and drivers use the most advanced seat belts also found in new cars, the estimated risk of death for women compared to men is reduced to about 6.1 percent.
The Automotive Safety Agency is taking several steps to eliminate any existing differences in crash outcomes for men and women. These include the development of new bioverifiable crash test dummies, the development of sophisticated computer simulations to assess the impact of different types of crashes on a large number of human body types and sizes, the study of the extent of gender differences in injuries that exist in such crashes, and the evaluation of new safety standards. to resolve any remaining inconsistencies.
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