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Do Women and the Elderly Cause More Car Accidents Than Men and the Young?

Sean Gallup, Getty Images

A recent study of accidents involving the gas pedals of vehicles yielded some age and gender-specific results.

Female drivers hit the gas instead of the brake in two-thirds of these accidents which occur in static places like garages, as opposed to roadways due to spacing and reaction time. They also occur in drivers over the age of 76 and under the age of 20, so it would appear that newer and elderly female drivers make that footwork mistake most often.

Even more interestingly, the National Highway Safety Administration conducted a study of 2,400 gas pedal-related accidents in North Carolina, combined with 900 news media reports of said accidents. The data revealed that accidents equally involved both age groups, but the media more commonly reported the accidents involving the elderly.

The frequency of accidents among drivers of these age groups is due to several reasons, with researchers suggesting that the regions of the brain that govern driving aren’t as “robust” in younger and older drivers. The parts of the brain that control executive functions are the last to develop.

Additionally, pedal accidents take place in parking lots and garages, as opposed to the open road, since the driver has less recovery time and less room to manuever in the smaller space.

However, when it comes to crashes on the open road, the opposite is true, with 60 percent of crashes involving male drivers.

[Associated Press]

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