1996-02-01

Fatal Crashes of Female Drivers Wearing Safety Belts 960459

Fatal crash circumstances for 48 belted female drivers were studied in-depth and compared to those of 83 belted male drivers in a similar population of vehicles. Women had a higher incidence of crashes on slippery roads, during lane changes and passing maneuvers than men who had a higher rate of aggressive driving and speed related crashes (χ2 = 10.47, p < 0.001). Driver-side damage was significantly more frequent in female than male crashes (χ2 = 5.74, p < 0.025) and women had a higher fraction of side impacts (45.9% v 31.4%) and crashes during daylight (87.0% v 72.3%, χ2 = 3.65, p < 0.05) than men. Women also had a higher fraction of potentially avoidable crashes than men (57.5% v 39.0%) and a lower involvement related to aggressive driving (10.6% v 25.6%). These differences were statistically significant (χ2 = 5.41, p < 0.025). Thirty percent of the avoidable fatal crashes of women occurred on slippery roads where the driver's reaction and experience in handling a vehicle in an emergency may be a factor.

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