Which Demographic is Actually Responsible for Most Car Accidents?

demographics responsible for car crashes

There are many beliefs and stereotypes surrounding particular groups of people who are perceived to be the worst drivers. For example, many people believe elders are more dangerous, while others argue teenagers are the ones for whom to look out. Certain people even believe that women are generally worse behind the wheel than men, and while many view bike accidents as sitting on the responsibility of drivers alone, the fact is that cyclists are also responsible in many instances.

Here are some facts about the ones who cause the most car accidents.

Men or Women?

Recent studies have shown that men are more likely to be arrested for general traffic violations and DUIs, and this may relate to the fact that men drive more often than women on average. There are currently over one million more females with driver’s licenses than men, but men typically accumulate around 40 percent more miles every year according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), with men gathering up to 16,550 per year and women driving for 10,142. This is consistent across all age groups.

Ultimately, based on these stats, men are the more dangerous drivers.

Teenagers or Seniors?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has made it clear that teenagers are responsible for more vehicle accidents than elderly drivers. More specifically, teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to cause an accident than drivers over the age of 20, with 12.2 percent of accidents reportedly caused by teens, according to the United States Census Bureau. On the other hand, drivers over the age of 65 are responsible for 7.5 percent of accidents.

Certain movements such as Teen Driver Source are working to prevent teenagers from driving irresponsibly by informing them of the dangers of cell phone use and other distractions teen drivers may experience, along with other safety tips. While this may help lower instances of accidents, these efforts are countered by the fact that the increasing average life expectancy of drivers. As more drivers age and live further into old age, the health effects of aging will also continue to negatively affect seniors’ driving, so teens may find themselves causing less accidents than seniors in the future.

Drivers or Cyclists?

While a large amount of people view cyclists as essentially pedestrians, and subsequently believe that they always have the right of way, recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies show that both cyclists and drivers are equally responsible for bike accidents. Newer figures also suggest that cyclists are involved in more accidents than motorists, with most accidents not even involving cars. Drivers are responsible for about 15 percent of bike accidents, with other causes including bad road conditions, falls and animal attacks. An increasing number of protected bike lanes are helping to prevent cyclist accidents.