Score one for the fellas in the age old male-female debate over who's a better/safer driver. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report released last month shows that although men tend to drive faster and more recklessly, women are far more likely to cause an accident by stomping on the wrong pedal.
Of course, when NHTSA factored age into the study, drivers under 20 and older than 76 were much more likely than everyone else to do the same thing, but across all age groups, women were the ones yelling "oops" most often when it came time to choose between the stop and go pedals.
Almost two thirds of pedal misapplication crashes were found to be caused by women, with the figure being significant enough for whoever wrote the report to suggest either incredulity or genuine I-told-you-so excitement by italicizing the words two thirds in an other wise drily written federal study.
But NHTSA seems to have done its homework, having relied upon a variety of sources for its study — everything from technical material published between 1980 and 2009 to the 2,411 wrong pedal wrecks recorded in the North Carolina State crash database between 2004 and 2008 (apparently, Tarheels are really good crash reporters).
The study found that most of the pedal misapplication crashes — 77 percent by the news analysis standard (which was thought perhaps to have been skewed by the "newsworthiness" of reported stories) and 57 percent in North Carolina — occurred off the roadway, in parking lots, driveways and the like. Inattention was also an issue, with 44 percent of the accidents involving distracted drivers, as were health, mental issues and age.
The most infamous wrong pedal crash occurred in 2003, when an 86-year-old motorist crashed into a busy farmers market in Santa Monica, Calif., killing nine and critically injuring 14.
But the bottom line is that most of the wrong pedal crashes over the past 20 years or so were caused by women. Does that mean that men are better drivers? Maybe in parking lots.
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