Age, gender and car accident research

Age, gender and car accident research

According to a new AA study, for every billion miles travelled by women over the age of 70, 173 of them are seriously injured or killed in a car crash, compared to 63 men over 70.

The motoring organisation believes these figures can be explained by women allowing their male partners to be the default driver as they get older.

In many ways this research is counter intuitive. If so many women are dying or seriously injured yet men are the default drivers, could it be that the men were the drivers and the women their passengers?

About Older Drivers

However, this study does raise serious issues about older drivers, regardless of gender.

1 Older men, in my experience, often assume responsibility for the car, including driving, running, maintaining and insuring it. This has always seemed fair to me when older women, in particular, usually assume responsibility for running the home instead, including shopping, cooking and cleaning.

2 There comes a time for all women, regardless of age, when they might choose to live alone or face divorce and bereavement – at which stage they often need support running their car, especially if a partner has shouldered this role alone previously. This is the profile of many female Club members who find our unique services reassuring enough to recommend us to friends and family in the same boat.

3 Our cars are our personal independence. At nights they are undoubtedly the safest form of transport for women travelling alone. Increasingly, as we age, we need them for grandparent responsibilities as we assume our share of caring for the children in extended families – running them to school and after school activities or taking them on holiday.

4 Clearly the AA is making the case that more older women should retrain as drivers and assume more of the responsibility at the wheel. But perhaps this should be looked at on a grander scale? Yes I’d agree with this sentiment in principle but I’d also recommend that ALL motorists, regardless of gender, are subject to refresher driving, car safety and maintenance classes on a regular basis after passing their test.

5 According to an exclusive poll of MPs conducted by YouGov, 63% of all parliamentarians would like to see mandatory retests when drivers reach a certain age and the most popular age selected was 75. I don’t support this on the basis of age alone, and of course we wouldn’t need to single out older drivers if we were to retrain and retest ALL motorists regularly.

Undoubtedly motoring can be dangerous, given inexperienced or unfit drivers and poorly maintained cars. We know, for example, that gender is an important factor among young drivers and that male drivers in the 17-20 age bracket are three times more likely to crash than their female counterparts (AA study). We also read of horrific accidents caused by older drivers who are clearly medically unfit to be behind the wheel. So whatever action is taken, it needs to address the whole age spectrum here.

Finally, FOXY research suggests that many women drivers over 70 tend to drive locally, to insure for less than 5000 miles a year and to have minor dents and dings in the likes of car parks. On that basis it’d take them hundreds of years to reach the billion miles accident calculation quoted in the AA study.

Find out more…

About this AA study

About mandatory test proposals for older drivers

About FOXY Lady Drivers Club services

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