Men more likely to crash than women

10.30 | 6 June 2011 | | 8 comments

Men are more likely than women to be involved in crashes because of bad driving habits, according to a report published by the IAM earlier this year.

Men are nearly twice as likely to be involved in a collision due to being careless, reckless or in a hurry, ‘Licensed to skill: Contributory factors in road accidents’ reveals. They are also more likely to crash because of poor behaviour or inexperience.

However, the study also shows that in some areas women and men aren’t so different when it comes to driving behaviour and attitudes: The majority of men and women enjoy driving, and rate themselves to be confident, considerate and safe. However, almost twice as many men as women claim to be ‘very confident’ drivers.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “These results show that we need to look at the psychology of male drivers to reduce risky behaviour and over-confidence, but for both sexes accidents could be easily reduced by improving driver skills and lives could be saved.

“The government is moving towards this by introducing driver training for careless driving offences but all drivers should consider training. Driving is a life-long skill that requires life-long learning.”

Click here to download the report, or for more information contact the IAM press office on 020 8996 9777.


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    Statistics based of such divisions are only useful for the targeting of educational safety campaigns.

    Honor – Insurance companies on the other hand should not be permitted to discriminate, on any basis, weather you young/old, male/female, black or white. Therefore the EU ruling I think is correct (and should probably go further in its scope), that these insurance companies must practice equality.

    It is a fact, that people can not have their personal driving ability judged by some statistical trend/average.

    Adam, Hants
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    Honor is absolutely right again.
    However this report does not include damage only incidents and one in the early 80s suggested that men have high speed, higher damage level accidents where people are injured whereas women have low speed, lower damage level accidents often damage only.
    The headline men are more likely to crash than women may or may not be true if you include all crashes, injury and damage only.
    The jury should still be out but I think that we have to accept that male driving behaviour will be generally more aggressive and therefore they are more likely than women to be involved in a crash.

    Peter, London
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    Some years ago I researched into the different types of injury collisions that men and women were involved in, in Sheffield. The DfT at the time said the increase in the number of women drivers involved in collisions was matched and might be explained by the increase in the number of women drivers on the roads (1990s). However my findings were that men were involved in more serious collisions and that the types of collisions were different. Thus male drivers were more likely to be involved in drink driving collisions, poor overtaking collisions, single vehehicle loss of control collisions, and generally driving too fast. Their collisions involved inappropriate behaviour. Women drivers were more like to be involved in collisions at the major junctions, in collisions that were less serious in terms of injury outcome. If there was a shunt collision, the male driver was more likely to have been the driver who shunted into the other one. There was some evidence however that some women drivers were involved in collisions that were more typical of those that male drivers were normally involved.

    Discussion then followed about how men and women think differently and that their patterns of ‘survival’ out on the road network could be compared to the differences of survival of say a zebra and a cheetah on the African plains. It was also noted that at that time, over 90% of highway designs was by males! I doubt if much has changed.

    John Wright, Road Safety Engineer (Statistics), Sheffield City Council
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    Measuring risk in some form is the way forward – however, someone could have a good style in relation to their speed and the forces they generate when they drive but could be a high risk road user due to their poor hazard awareness or observation at junctions. To promote good driving insurance companies should give much lower premiums to those who can show, through a variety of measures, that they are a lower risk but, when someone is found to be responsible in some way for an incident the premiums should sky-rocket. Statistics generalise and are accurate for predicting group behaviour but to have fair insurance premiums the individual needs to accounted for in some way.

    Dr James Whalen BSc, PhD, ADI (Wolverhampton)
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    Surely the time has come for insurance companies to become better at measuring risk. Do they know me/you well enough purely from our age, profession, gender, postcode, vehicle? I would say “no”.

    Let us assume they can learn more (perhaps from data recorders). This inevitably means that some drivers will win, some will lose (on premiums). Is this a “good” thing – perhaps, but some will be priced off the roads…..or really start to modify their behaviour (driving style) and or travel amount/times of day.

    Dare I suggest that regulation (yes “red tape”) e.g to make black box style premiums the norm (say by 2025) should be considered. Is this a major road safety opportunity within our grasp?

    Peter Whitfield, Manchester
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    I totally agree with Honor’s post – especially about the unfair treatment of women as far as the EU ruling on insurance is concerned. Premiums should be based on evidence and claims experience. Unfortunately, I see younger women acting as if they have to compete with young males and prove they are as “good” (I think that should be “bad”)as the boys. It’s another aspect of the ladette culture. As Honor concludes, the important part is how are we to improve the situation. Education, education, education……………

    David Midmer ADI, Wirral
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    The basis of the IAM report is an analysis of the statistics and reports of collisions. Until the recent EU ruling, insurance companies based their usually lower premiums for women drivers purely on the factual evidence that they cause fewer collisions and injuries than male drivers – per mile driven. Insurance companies don’t do anyone free favours, they only did this because it is a fact. This is not a personal judgement on you or any individual man, it is a response to the evidence. There are differences between how most men and most women behave, including how they drive, their attitudes to risk and so on that are behind these differences in outcome. I am all for equality in life, work and opportunities and will willingly defend that principle, whether for men or for women who are being unfairly disadvantaged just because they are male or female. However, in this case I think the EU ruling has got it fundamentally wrong because men and women do not represent the same level of risk due to their gender and the differences in driving behaviour that result. There will always be a variety of differences between individuals and there are some very good male drivers and some very bad female drivers but overall, male drivers, especially young, novice male drivers, DO cause more collisions per mile driven than female drivers.
    What we really need to concentrate on is how we address these issues, improve education and learning to drive to reduce that difference between the genders and improve driving safety for all. We do not want to see young, or any ,male drivers continuing to be involved in even more collisions than young women and that is the important issue – not what the facts are but what we are doing about them.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    Sometimes I think people judge all male drivers with the same ‘brush’. May I dare say it there are some female drivers that are just as bad. Insurance and other factors should be individual and not based on the gender. I may be a learner driver but I say I probably have better control and am safer than most qualified drivers.

    Scott McI
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