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Fatality Facts 2021Males and females

Overview

Many more men than women die each year in motor vehicle crashes. Men typically drive more miles than women and are more likely to engage in risky driving practices, including not using seat belts, driving while impaired by alcohol and speeding. Crashes involving male drivers often are more severe than those involving female drivers ().

However, females are more likely than males to be killed or injured in crashes of similar severity (). The types of vehicles men drive and the circumstances of their crashes contribute to the decreased risk (Brumbelow & Jermakian, 2022). The difference in fatality risk between male and female drivers has diminished in newer vehicles with improvements in crashworthiness and restraint design ().

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (FARS). Posted May 2023.

Age differences

Based on an analysis of April 2016 - March 2017 data from FARS and the National Household Travel Survey, the number of driver fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles driven in 2016-17 was 63% higher for males (2.1 per 100 million miles traveled) than for females (1.3 per 100 million miles traveled). Rates were substantially higher for males than for females ages 16-29, but the differences were smaller for ages 30 and older. The sex difference was largest among drivers ages 20-29.

Passenger vehicle fatal crash rates per 100 million miles traveled, by driver sex, April 2016 - March 2017
Age Male Female Total*
Crash involvements Miles Rate Crash involvements Miles Rate Crash involvements Miles Rate
16-19 2,019 31,732,691,896 6.4 1,003 30,677,731,652 3.3 3,023 62,410,423,548 4.8
20-29 7,327 187,497,565,846 3.9 3,246 198,148,511,278 1.6 10,578 385,646,077,124 2.7
30-59 12,875 785,270,175,131 1.6 6,011 558,224,868,022 1.1 18,888 1,343,495,043,154 1.4
60-69 3,019 207,918,951,320 1.5 1,380 136,711,746,704 1.0 4,400 344,630,698,024 1.3
≥70 2,924 104,684,593,355 2.8 1,377 66,739,614,422 2.1 4,302 171,424,207,778 2.5
Total* 28,182 1,317,103,977,548 2.1 13,020 990,502,472,079 1.3 41,234 2,307,606,449,627 1.8
In 2021, the rates of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people were much higher among males than among females for every age group. Male passenger vehicle occupants ages 85 years and older had the highest fatality rate, followed by males ages 20-24 years. Fatality rates were lowest among occupants 0-15 years old for both males and females.
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 100,000 people by age and sex, 2021
Age Male Female Total*
Population Deaths Rate Population Deaths Rate Population Deaths Rate
0-15 33,217,260 536 1.6 31,705,336 472 1.5 64,922,596 1,011 1.6
16-19 8,794,449 1,367 15.5 8,414,291 710 8.4 17,208,740 2,080 12.1
20-24 10,973,238 2,093 19.1 10,550,759 990 9.4 21,523,997 3,087 14.3
25-29 11,379,058 1,945 17.1 11,013,419 847 7.7 22,392,477 2,794 12.5
30-34 11,674,304 1,733 14.8 11,428,324 779 6.8 23,102,628 2,521 10.9
35-39 11,263,833 1,377 12.2 11,035,485 694 6.3 22,299,318 2,071 9.3
40-44 10,593,780 1,204 11.4 10,510,756 551 5.2 21,104,536 1,757 8.3
45-49 9,875,757 987 10.0 9,905,753 456 4.6 19,781,510 1,445 7.3
50-54 10,436,202 1,122 10.8 10,470,724 524 5.0 20,906,926 1,646 7.9
55-59 10,630,059 1,082 10.2 10,937,255 480 4.4 21,567,314 1,563 7.2
60-64 10,333,259 1,014 9.8 10,902,491 490 4.5 21,235,750 1,505 7.1
65-69 8,748,213 837 9.6 9,646,107 419 4.3 18,394,320 1,257 6.8
70-74 7,120,873 676 9.5 8,150,929 440 5.4 15,271,802 1,118 7.3
75-79 4,472,410 575 12.9 5,432,359 415 7.6 9,904,769 990 10.0
80-84 2,696,104 464 17.2 3,605,202 301 8.3 6,301,306 767 12.2
≥85 2,175,943 469 21.6 3,799,813 421 11.1 5,975,756 891 14.9
Total 164,384,742 17,525 10.7 167,509,003 9,017 5.4 331,893,745 26,585 8.0

Alcohol involvement

Each year from 1982 to 2021, the proportion of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08% has been substantially higher for males than for females.
Fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08%, 1982-2021
Year Male Female Total*
Drivers killed Estimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08 Drivers killed Estimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08 Drivers killed Estimated deaths with BACs ≥ 0.08
Number Number % Number Number % Number Number %
1982 15,129 8,529 56 4,534 1,495 33 19,664 10,024 51
1983 14,620 8,070 55 4,716 1,458 31 19,338 9,529 49
1984 14,934 7,856 53 5,366 1,523 28 20,300 9,379 46
1985 14,768 7,325 50 5,288 1,348 25 20,058 8,674 43
1986 15,935 7,950 50 5,564 1,444 26 21,503 9,396 44
1987 16,133 7,787 48 6,022 1,554 26 22,157 9,343 42
1988 16,744 8,080 48 6,140 1,500 24 22,884 9,581 42
1989 16,284 7,710 47 6,269 1,491 24 22,554 9,201 41
1990 15,901 7,591 48 6,049 1,380 23 21,953 8,973 41
1991 14,824 6,916 47 5,727 1,326 23 20,551 8,242 40
1992 14,021 6,216 44 5,550 1,217 22 19,573 7,434 38
1993 14,298 6,114 43 5,737 1,213 21 20,036 7,328 37
1994 14,612 5,898 40 6,034 1,184 20 20,647 7,083 34
1995 15,164 6,216 41 6,293 1,272 20 21,457 7,488 35
1996 15,066 6,063 40 6,563 1,272 19 21,631 7,336 34
1997 15,023 5,819 39 6,683 1,248 19 21,711 7,069 33
1998 14,975 5,712 38 6,651 1,232 19 21,627 6,945 32
1999 15,238 5,832 38 6,658 1,161 17 21,899 6,994 32
2000 15,323 5,844 38 6,495 1,283 20 21,819 7,127 33
2001 15,396 5,954 39 6,465 1,250 19 21,862 7,205 33
2002 15,907 6,182 39 6,629 1,199 18 22,537 7,381 33
2003 15,551 5,938 38 6,647 1,182 18 22,200 7,120 32
2004 15,390 5,804 38 6,562 1,148 17 21,952 6,952 32
2005 15,564 5,897 38 6,386 1,205 19 21,953 7,104 32
2006 15,199 5,776 38 6,390 1,387 22 21,592 7,164 33
2007 14,648 5,841 40 5,892 1,216 21 20,542 7,057 34
2008 13,022 5,211 40 5,239 1,067 20 18,266 6,280 34
2009 11,928 4,743 40 4,905 1,048 21 16,834 5,791 34
2010 11,103 4,114 37 4,923 1,062 22 16,029 5,177 32
2011 10,880 4,112 38 4,677 951 20 15,561 5,065 33
2012 11,234 4,263 38 4,681 941 20 15,915 5,205 33
2013 10,957 4,121 38 4,617 985 21 15,577 5,109 33
2014 10,978 3,937 36 4,514 967 21 15,495 4,906 32
2015 11,828 3,916 33 4,795 998 21 16,629 4,916 30
2016 12,504 4,118 33 5,129 1,027 20 17,641 5,149 29
2017 12,571 4,101 33 5,173 1,013 20 17,751 5,116 29
2018 12,171 3,908 32 5,087 1,048 21 17,263 4,957 29
2019 11,950 3,768 32 4,910 1,014 21 16,878 4,791 28
2020 13,186 4,343 33 5,113 1,189 23 18,316 5,540 30
2021 14,498 4,773 33 5,735 1,329 23 20,261 6,115 30

Speeding

Each year from 1982 to 2021, speeding was identified as a contributing factor for a greater percentage of male drivers than female drivers involved in fatal crashes.
Percentage of fatal crash involvements for male and female passenger vehicle drivers coded as speeding, 1982-2021
Year Male Female Total*
Drivers involved Coded as speeding Drivers involved Coded as speeding Drivers involved Coded as speeding
Number Number % Number Number % Number Number %
1982 34,308 9,156 27 10,409 1,656 16 45,115 10,857 24
1983 32,876 8,442 26 10,722 1,618 15 43,833 10,100 23
1984 34,003 8,442 25 11,618 1,769 15 45,888 10,268 22
1985 33,934 8,746 26 11,832 1,908 16 46,027 10,700 23
1986 36,014 9,676 27 12,444 2,004 16 48,794 11,735 24
1987 36,686 9,623 26 13,295 2,168 16 50,353 11,855 24
1988 37,601 9,941 26 13,652 2,132 16 51,576 12,127 24
1989 36,290 9,424 26 13,769 2,229 16 50,380 11,696 23
1990 35,355 8,876 25 13,455 1,958 15 49,118 10,883 22
1991 32,762 8,303 25 12,570 1,942 15 45,639 10,301 23
1992 31,343 7,666 24 12,339 1,807 15 43,943 9,531 22
1993 31,951 7,567 24 12,792 1,866 15 45,002 9,467 21
1994 32,444 7,529 23 13,274 1,945 15 45,999 9,518 21
1995 33,719 8,039 24 13,893 2,087 15 47,895 10,174 21
1996 33,511 7,858 23 14,538 2,171 15 48,336 10,074 21
1997 33,095 7,832 24 14,611 2,231 15 48,026 10,124 21
1998 32,678 7,495 23 14,745 2,119 14 47,715 9,680 20
1999 32,619 7,507 23 14,455 2,065 14 47,304 9,614 20
2000 32,945 7,333 22 14,422 2,098 15 47,645 9,478 20
2001 32,999 7,490 23 14,518 2,067 14 47,799 9,598 20
2002 33,520 8,184 24 14,581 2,227 15 48,392 10,454 22
2003 33,131 7,808 24 14,758 2,234 15 48,171 10,090 21
2004 32,402 7,572 23 14,913 2,136 14 47,548 9,743 20
2005 32,824 7,704 23 14,555 2,147 15 47,628 9,895 21
2006 31,743 7,640 24 14,254 2,141 15 46,207 9,819 21
2007 30,829 7,464 24 13,726 2,002 15 44,734 9,506 21
2008 27,421 6,407 23 12,145 1,830 15 39,741 8,260 21
2009 24,887 5,985 24 11,461 1,668 15 36,486 7,682 21
2010 23,854 5,706 24 11,422 1,766 15 35,415 7,508 21
2011 23,542 5,476 23 10,885 1,514 14 34,554 7,011 20
2012 24,472 5,611 23 11,238 1,582 14 35,855 7,209 20
2013 23,918 5,217 22 11,016 1,551 14 35,093 6,803 19
2014 24,014 5,029 21 10,916 1,366 13 35,117 6,436 18
2015 26,529 5,247 20 11,960 1,473 12 38,742 6,762 17
2016 28,201 5,447 19 12,958 1,623 13 41,470 7,119 17
2017 28,273 5,385 19 13,245 1,464 11 41,777 6,889 16
2018 27,851 5,243 19 12,966 1,417 11 41,064 6,706 16
2019 27,506 5,142 19 12,557 1,461 12 40,383 6,640 16
2020 29,348 6,255 21 12,639 1,619 13 42,307 7,935 19
2021 32,667 6,607 20 14,568 1,887 13 47,696 8,580 18

The percent of fatal crash involvements for which drivers were coded as speeding was higher for men than for women across all age groups, but the difference was largest among 15- to 19-year-olds. Drivers under 20 years of age also had a higher rate of speeding-related fatal crash involvements than any other age group.

Percentage of fatal crash involvements for male and female passenger vehicle drivers coded as speeding by age, 2021
Age Male Female Total*
Drivers involved Coded as speeding Drivers involved Coded as speeding Drivers involved Coded as speeding
Number Number % Number Number % Number Number %
15-19 2,408 856 36 1,088 236 22 3,505 1,093 31
20-29 7,974 2,237 28 3,495 614 18 11,487 2,855 25
30-59 15,568 2,875 18 6,964 841 12 22,562 3,720 16
60-69 3,397 325 10 1,454 100 7 4,855 425 9
≥70 3,203 278 9 1,525 85 6 4,731 363 8
Total* 32,667 6,607 20 14,568 1,887 13 47,696 8,580 18
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