Are male drivers worse than women? The numbers are in

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Men pose more risk to other road users than women and they are more likely to drive more dangerous vehicles, reveals the first study of its kind, published online in the journal Injury Prevention.

The findings prompt the researchers to suggest that greater gender equity in road transport jobs, overall, might help lessen these risks.

Road safety analysis has traditionally focused on an individual’s injury risk from their own use of a particular type of transport rather than the risk that might be posed to others.

In an effort to plug this knowledge gap, the researchers drew on four sets of official data for England for the period 200515: police injury statistics (Stats19); road traffic statistics; National Travel Survey data; and Office for National Statistics population/gender figures.

They used the data to analyse the risks posed to other road users from bicycles, cars and taxis, vans, buses, trucks and motorbikes per billion vehicle kilometres travelled, and categorised by road type major and minor roads in urban and rural areas and gender.

In terms of absolute numbers, cars and taxis were associated with most (two-thirds) of fatalities to other road users. But a comparison of fatalities per distance travelled shows that other vehicles might be even more dangerous.

Trucks were associated with one in six deaths to other road users: each kilometre driven was associated with more than five times the number of such deaths than each kilometre driven in a car. There was a similarly high death toll for buses per kilometre driven.

Despite their small size, motorbikes also put other road users at high risk. Each kilometre driven was associated with around 2.5 times more deaths to other parties than was each kilometre driven in a car.

In urban areas, most of those deaths 173 over the entire study period were pedestrians. Policymakers should ensure that measures to discourage car use don’t inadvertently encourage a shift to motorbike transport, suggest the researchers.

At the other end of the scale, cycling seems relatively safe for others: it was associated with fewer deaths to other parties per kilometre ridden than all the other types of transport, with just one other death per billion kilometres cycled.

Analysis of the data by gender showed that men posed a significantly higher risk to other road users for five of the six vehicle types studied.

For cars and vans, the risk posed by male drivers was double that posed by women per kilometre driven, rising to four times higher for truck drivers, and more than 10 times higher for motorbike riders.

In a linked podcast, lead researcher Dr Rachel Aldred points out that driving jobs tend to be male dominated, citing the high death toll to other road users associated with trucks, 95 per cent of which are driven by men.

While trucks in general are dangerous vehicles, male truck drivers pose a particularly high risk compared to female truck drivers, she adds.

“Greater gender equity would have a positive impact on these injuries,” she suggests, adding that: “Policymakers should be looking to measure the risk posed to others, and how to reduce it.”

The researchers conclude: “We suggest policymakers consider policies to increase gender balance in occupations that substantially involve driving, given the greater likelihood that other road users will be killed if men rather than women are driving or riding.”

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Total Comments: 17
  1. 0

    bicycles one death per billion kilometres? How did they come up with that since bicycles dont have odometers.
    Looks like men will have to give up driving and have only women drivers in all forms of road transport. Wont that be fun!

  2. 0

    It’s time for self driving cars.

  3. 0

    This is NOT an Australian study and is totally irrelevant!

    • 0

      It’s a regular problem: studies like this either aren’t conducted in Australia or the results not released. Unless they justify increased penalties or even more strict controls over drivers.

  4. 0

    Thank heaven that the study didn’t reflect the current NSW government prejudice against older drivers!

  5. 0

    What a load of nonsense. Comparing bicycles to trucks and cars is farcical. Bicycles which while ridden by many travel at a slow pace so are most unlikely to cause fatal injuries if they collide with someone or if the rider has a mishap. On the other hand, trucks would cover many more miles in the same period and would therefore be much more likely to be involved in an accident. The researchers should return their funding to the government – or be charged with taking money under false pretences.

  6. 0

    Australian drivers are the worst overall, Women are getting worse by the year, once if you were female you could get a discount on insurance, not sure if it the same now.
    I have driven more than 70,000 Km overseas, America, all over most of western Europe, New Zealand, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, & etc.
    I would rather drive in Italy than Wollongong and most cities in OZ.
    Australians do not have common sense, most are unskilled and uneducated.
    The ones that do the right thing on the road are abused for holding up the “entitled” generation who haven’t got a clue. Their attitude is lets get there as fast as we can and bugger the safety.
    The number of teenagers who are killing innocent people on the road through driving stolen cars and police avoidance stunts, or are on drugs and grog should be jailed for life, if they are under 18 years old their PARENTS should be fined for not controlling their offspring.
    IT IS THE PARENTS FAULT. The graffiti and other crimes are the responsibility of families.
    Watch out now for the replies by the wingers who say they cant control their kids !!!!!
    Government has no guts to punish these idiots right from the start, too lenient with first and second even third offenses, Make it even harder to get a license and to keep it.
    The only reason the loss of points has been made more lenient before loosing the license is for revenue reasons, they are not fair dinkum about safety because of the income from fines.

    • 0

      “”Oxleigh”” you are 10000% right. Drove all over Europe and Australia and every day I am happy to return home without any issues. Traffic roules need to change. Drivers and pedestrians need to be educated. DEFENSIVE driving should be teached from professionals not mom and dad. Their mistakes are given to the next generation.

  7. 0

    What a load of bollocks! Who wrote this crap?? Have they again been drinking the hand sanitiser? If you wanted to compare then do it validity – an apple is very different to a pineapple. Make like for like comparsions please……..

  8. 0

    “”Oxleigh”” you are 10000% right. Drove all over Europe and Australia and every day I am happy to return home without any issues. Traffic roules need to change. Drivers and pedestrians need to be educated. DEFENSIVE driving should be teached from professionals not mom and dad. Their mistakes are given to the next generation.

  9. 0

    “”Oxleigh”” you are 10000% right. Drove all over Europe and Australia and every day I am happy to return home without any issues. Traffic roules need to change. Drivers and pedestrians need to be educated. DEFENSIVE driving should be teached from professionals not mom and dad. Their mistakes are given to the next generation.

  10. 0

    Well, I don’t know about men driving more dangerous cars because married women usually drive older, less safe, vehicles chosen for them by their husbands – yes, even today. Many of those are too big for them to exercise proper control. They forget that drivers’ seats can be raised to give them a better view around them. Men do, however, drive more aggressively but are more accurate at judging gaps and distances – ubless they are driving aggressively. Women for the most part tend to be more timid, except for the later generation of young women drivers, many of whom are quite reckless on the road – something I observe nearly every day. I rode a bicycle as a teenager and observed the road rules as if I were driving a car, traffic lights, hand signalling, etc., but nowadays, for safety, I believe they should be segregated from motorised taffic.
    In case you’re wondering, I’ve been driving since the 1950s, have never been given a driving infringement (including speeding) and keep myself up to date with road rules. In 1962 I skidded on an icy road, colliding with a fence – my only major crash that might be construed as having been my doing, one or two other bingles in the ’70s and ’80s were the fault of others.

    • 0

      Great observation, BillW41. It’s said one of the reasons Italians are such good (though risk-taking) drivers is that they learnt to ride mopeds before getting into cars. Nothing focuses the attention like being in a situation where everyone around you is trying to kill you. And those lessons are carried over when they become drivers. Anyone who rides a cycle is more “cycle aware”, anyone who rides a motorbike is more “motorbike aware”. And even though we’re all pedestrians at some point, that message doesn’t seem to carry over when we get behind the wheel.

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