Study of road safety from a gender perspective

During the month of March, 2023, a study carried out by the Directorate-General for Traffic on the situation of road accidents from the perspective of gender in Spain was presented.

The report has taken into account existing studies in this area and has been completed with a descriptive analysis of the road accident situation from a gender perspective with data from 2015 to 2019, presented with a series of actions and recommendations.

The higher number of men killed and injured in traffic accidents has been mainly related to their greater exposure to traffic compared to women (World Health Organization, 2002) and to the adoption of risky behaviours, such as speeding, alcohol consumption or less use of seat belts.

In addition, there is sufficient evidence to show that men, especially young men, tend to have more aggressive behaviour compared to women in most cultures, and this factor has a very important impact on driving, since it encourages more competitive and hostile behaviour and, consequently, increases the chances of having a traffic accident.

An analysis of accident statistics shows that there is a higher percentage of male victims in traffic accidents. In Spain, during 2019, 79% of those killed and 72% of those hospitalised as a result of a traffic accident were men. Likewise, men have a higher rate of deaths per population than women in all age groups, especially in the 35 to 44, 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 age groups, where the most notable differences are found (almost seven times higher than the rate for women).

Regarding men, the percentage of victims killed/hospitalised is higher on interurban roads (56%) than in urban areas (44%). In the case of women, urban roads account for more victims (52%).

On interurban roads, 75% of the victims are men and 25% are women. On the other hand, on urban roads, men represent 68% and women 32%.

As for the mode of transport used by the victims killed or hospitalised, it varies quite a lot between the sexes: men mainly use motorcycles (35%) and passenger cars (28%), and women travel mainly in passenger cars (41%) and as pedestrians (36%).

If we study alcohol and drug use, the highest percentages of positive results correspond to men, both in alcohol and drug use. Women represent a positivity rate of 8% for alcohol and drugs. On the contrary, among males the positivity is 21% for alcohol and 14% for drugs.

There are also notable differences in the use of seat belts. While among deceased or hospitalised victims who are female drivers of passenger cars or vans, the use of seat belts is 93%, among men it drops to 83%.

Fifty-nine percent of passengers killed or hospitalised are women, compared to 41% of men. Among non-hospitalised victims, they represent 63%. In absolute figures, more women are killed or hospitalised as passengers than as drivers, and in the case of men, it is the other way around.


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