The estimated difference in female fatality risk is significantly reduced in newer vehicles, starting as early as model year 2000, according to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The report explores female fatality risk relative to male fatality risk in collisions with similar impacts. One of the Biden administration’s goals is to advance equity in our transportation system and that includes eliminating gender disparities in crash outcomes.
While there is progress, there is more work to done. But new cars are making a positive difference.
Specifically, the findings of NHTSA’s new report show the difference in fatality risk estimates for female versus male front row occupants is 6.3% for model year 2010-2020 vehicles, which is significantly less compared to 18.3% for model year 1960-2009.
Moreover, the reports finds that the newer the vehicle, the smaller the disparity. For example, the overall gap plunges to 2.9% for 2015-2020 model year vehicles.
Another noteworthy finding from the report shows that newer generations of cars outfitted with dual air bags reduce the estimated fatality risk for women compared to men. In addition, when passengers and drivers use the most advanced seat belts — also found in newer vehicles — the estimated fatality risk for women relative to men declines to 6.1%.
NHTSA believes the declines are linked to the agency’s efforts to help strengthen safety standards for seat belts and airbags. In addition, NHTSA launched educational campaigns to improve seat belt compliance in the U.S.
For example, fewer than a third of occupants wore seat belts in crashes included in the study involving model year 1960-2009 vehicles while 83% of occupants in the 2010-2020 model year vehicles buckled up. Newer vehicles offer better safety features and they appear to be at least partly responsible for helping to reduce the fatality gap between the genders.