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You might assume the traffic accident statistics may be similar for women and men. After all, the laws of physics are the same regardless of gender. But it turns out that men are dying on the roads at a much higher rate than women are.

Researchers have some clear ideas about why this might be. While legislators, law enforcement, vehicle designers and highway engineers could play their parts, nobody could do more to lower the overall fatalities in Alabama than drivers, especially male drivers.

A difference clearly seen in the numbers

In 2017 (the most recent year available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), well over two thirds of the people who died on Alabama roads were men. Specifically, 71 percent of the deaths were men.

This number is much like national numbers, which remain somewhat similar after digging more deeply into the numbers of fatalities involving alcohol, or while on motorcycles, in trucks, on bicycles, as pedestrians, etc.

The only category of traffic deaths in which women were even a slim majority was passenger deaths, where 50.8 percent of people who died on the road while someone else was driving were women.

An even deeper dive into the numbers was published recently in the journal Safety.

Researchers from University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa found (among many other things) that fatal crashes involving speeding were more common the older Alabama men were. In women, fatal crashes were more common the younger Alabama women were, with female drivers from 15 to 18 years old dying more commonly than males in the same age range.

In a recent article at AL.com, the coordinator of ALDOT’s Drive Safe Alabama initiative told the new outlet, “in general, men will engage in more risky behavior than women.” Speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and not wearing seatbelts were also factors in the striking differences between male and female fatalities in Alabama.