LONDON — Men have always been considered a bit more hot-headed than women, but does that really make them more dangerous on the road? According to a new study, men indeed pose a bigger threat to other drivers than women. Men were also found to be more likely to drive more dangerous vehicles.
The research team believe their findings should prompt more gender equity when it comes to hiring for road transport jobs. Today, men fill the majority of these positions.
Most road safety analysis projects have focused on a person’s likelihood of hurting themselves, not others. So, to address this oversight, the study’s authors investigated four distinct sets of road data for England between 2005 and 2015. All that data included statistics regarding road traffic, injuries, national travel, and population/gender information.
The data was used to calculate the dangers posed to other road travelers from various means of transport (cars, bicycles, buses, motorcycles, etc.) per billion vehicle kilometers traveled. Road types (highways, minor roads), general areas (urban, rural), and gender were also considered.
Roughly speaking, cars and taxis were most often associated with road deaths. That being said, when fatalities per distance were compared, other vehicles were shown to be very dangerous as well.
Trucks were linked to one in every six deaths to other people on the road. Additionally, for every .6 miles a truck drove, it was linked to five times more deaths than the same distance traveled via car. Buses and motorcycles showed similarly high fatality statistics.
It’s also important to note that in studied urban areas, most road deaths were actually pedestrians.
All in all, cycling seems to be pretty safe in comparison to other ways of getting around. Bicycles were linked to fewer deaths to someone else than all other methods per .6 miles traveled.
Among five of the six studied transportation methods, gender comparisons confirmed that men represent a significantly higher risk to other drivers and travelers than women.
Behind the wheel of a car or van, men are twice as dangerous to other travelers per .6 miles traveled. When men drive a truck, that jumps up to four times as dangerous, as well as 10 times more dangerous while driving a motorcycle.
Lead researcher Dr. Rachel Aldred, of the University of Westminster, notes that 95% of trucks in the U.K. are driven by men right now. She believes hiring more female truck drivers would make the roads a safer place.
“Greater gender equity would have a positive impact on these injuries,” she adds. “Policy-makers should be looking to measure the risk posed to others, and how to reduce it.”
“We suggest policy-makers 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,” the study concludes.
The study is published in BMJ.