Do women or men take risks?

Risk in road traffic: as a man and as a woman

Although women are 51 percent of the population in Germany, men dominate those involved in road traffic accidents: According to the Federal Statistical Office, in 2014 they accounted for 54 percent of the slightly injured, 61 percent of the seriously injured and 74 percent of those killed. Measured against the size of their population, the risk of women and girls having an accident while driving is significantly lower than that of men and boys: 427 female road users and 548 male road users per 100,000 inhabitants had accidents. The number of fatalities per million inhabitants was 21 for women and 63 for men.

Almost two thirds of the women involved in accidents were injured in a car. Slightly more than a third of the women who had an accident in a car (35 percent) were not behind the wheel themselves, but were passengers. Of the men who were involved in accidents as car occupants, the proportion of passengers was 22 percent. In the case of those fatally injured in a car, as many as 40 percent were female passengers, in the case of the fatally injured men the proportion of passengers was only 15 percent.

Significantly more men than women have accidents on bicycles. In 2014, 30,803 women and 47,372 men were injured while riding a bicycle. 116 cyclists and 280 cyclists were among the fatally injured. Nine percent of the injured women and seven percent of the injured men were on foot. Motorized two-wheelers are relatively seldom used by women. This can also be seen in the number of accidents: only five percent of the women involved in accidents were injured on motorized two-wheelers, while the proportion of men with accidents was 18 percent.

Men are more likely than women to be primarily responsible for accidents in which they are involved. In 2014, 53 percent of men involved in accidents with personal injury, but only 48 percent of women, were classified as the main cause of an accident when the police recorded accidents. This applies to most types of road use: 57 percent of car drivers, but only 54 percent of female car drivers, were primarily to blame. Overall, the accidents caused by women were less serious than those of men. Based on 1,000 accidents, the number of seriously injured and fatalities in accidents caused by women was significantly lower than in those caused by men.

When it comes to road users by bicycle or on foot, the proportion of main culprits is greater for men than for women. Here, the share of the main culprits among men was 44 percent (bicycles) versus 37 percent for women, or 31 percent (pedestrians) versus 22 percent (pedestrians). When using motorcycles with registration plates, the ratio is reversed: 57 percent of women involved in accidents were the main culprits, while men were the main culprits at 50 percent. In the case of commercial vehicles (goods vehicles and buses), the share of the main polluters was slightly higher among women than among men.

In the case of misconduct accused of car drivers in accidents with personal injury, “turning, turning, reversing, driving in and starting” was the top priority for both sexes. In relation to every 1,000 accidents, the proportion of women who were accused of this was just as high as that of men.
However, there were differences in the second most common misconduct, namely the "non-observance of right of way or priority". Here, the proportion of women with 125 cases per 1,000 accidents was higher than that of men (115). On the other hand, men are more often accused of being too close, improper speed and the influence of alcohol. In particular, when alcohol is the cause of the incapacity to drive, the ratio is downright extreme: for every 1,000 accidents, 30 car drivers, but only eight female drivers, were charged with this.

Source: Federal Statistical Office: Traffic accidents. Accidents of women and men in road traffic 2014, Wiesbaden 2015

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