Women drivers may be more at risk for injuries in a car crash than men, according to a new national study published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
The cause has nothing to do with driving habits; instead, vehicle safety designs may not be adequately tailored to women, according to the study.
The University of Virginia researchers reviewed national crash data between 1998 and 2008 to determine the role of driver gender in predicting injuries. Results showed women wearing safety belts were more susceptible to injuries compared to belted men drivers in comparable vehicle crashes.
The study also found that belted women drivers showed a higher risk of chest and spine injuries compared to belted men in comparable crashes.
The researchers said the higher risk of lower extreme injuries for women drivers was a result of women's "relatively short stature, preferred seating posture and a combination of these factors yielding lower safety protection from the standard restraint devices."
The findings are pertinent to the insurance industry, which pushes for greater vehicle safety to prevent injuries and reduce costs.