As part of a comprehensive Kansas Department of Transportation investigation aimed at improving highway safety for less experienced drivers, experts in the KSU civil engineering department examined highway safety and crash statistics for drivers of different ages and sexes. They hope to be able to use their findings to enhance the educational tools used in driver education classes for young drivers. The researchers were aware that age plays a significant role in highway safety, with younger and older drivers being involved in a greater number of accidents than any other age group. However, they wanted to dig deeper to learn if a difference existed in the driving habits of young men and young women.
The team analyzed Kansas DOT highway safety and crash data for drivers ages 16-24, spanning 2007-2011- the most recent year for which information was available when they commenced their study. The study highlighted significant variations among young male and young female drivers, including:
- Young female drivers had a greater tendency to be involved in accidents on weekdays, and in accidents at intersections, or collisions with pedestrians. They were also 66 percent more prone to wear their seatbelt than male drivers, but also 28 percent more likely than their male counterparts to drive on a restricted license.
- Young male drivers showed a greater propensity for being involved in off-road crashes, a common side effect of speeding on rural roads. They were involved in more accidents after sunset and on weekends than young females.
The investigators were able to ascertain discrepancies among the genders of young drivers based on the attitudes and behaviors of young men and young women. The differences predict what type of accident each group is more likely to be involved in, and will hopefully allow instructors to better customize learning materials to target at-risk individuals and reduce the occurrence of accidents in the future.
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