Proof! Women are better drivers than men

Here’s one to start some arguments around the dinner table. I have statistical proof that women are better drivers than men. I downloaded from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) all cases nationwide in 2016 in which there were multiple cars and multiple drivers and at least one male and one female driver and where one driver had a factor listed of “careless driving” and the other did not. Of the tens of thousands of fatal accidents recorded there were exactly 432 that met these criteria. Of these the male was listed as careless 241 times, the female 191 times. When I select for factor “reckless” it’s even worse for men, 222 to 79 and for “aggressive driving/road rage” it’s male 69, female 13. I rest my case.

Bear in mind this only shows what a law enforcement officer reported to NHTSA in fatality cases. It doesn’t include fender benders or single car fatality cases or cases where both drivers were found to be careless. Nor does it include skills like parallel parking or navigating or traffic violations. These numbers compare only cases where careless driving, reckless driving, or aggressive driving was a factor (coded by the officer) but not other listed factors. I ran the data again where I included all cases where there was any driver factor that could be considered bad driving. There, the difference is much less,  5025 for men to 4916 for women. These raw numbers, however, aren’t very significant because they include such minor factors as “overloading” or “inexperience” along with some serious ones like alcohol-related and speeding. If one driver is reckless and the other inexperienced (apples to oranges) they would score the same for this test. That’s why I tested apples to apples limiting it to the three clearest fault indicators.

In California there is a meme (racist?) that Asian drivers are the worst drivers. There is even a fictitious offense of DWA (driving while Asian) bandied about frequently. So I did the same thing for the race of the driver comparing only listings of white vs. Asian. The data produced only three cases. In all three the Asian driver was listed as careless, not the white driver. None were in California. This is too small a data set to be convincing. I suspect that many accident reports do not list the race of the drivers, especially if one is non-white. I would not be surprised if politically correct California has a policy of not putting race on their form, at least in many departments. The vast majority of California reports had no listing or unknown in the race field. The NHTSA coding form specifies several specific Asian “races” (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, which are really nationalities) but also a general category of “Other Asian.” I suspect that of those departments that do report the race, they choose that rather than ask or guess at a driver’s Asian “race.” It was the single most frequent Asian race category that was reported in California. I can tell you that I spent a year as a volunteer judge pro tem doing traffic court in Palo Alto, California and there were probably as many ticketed Asian drivers as white drivers in that courtroom. I don’t think native born Americans of Asian descent are any worse than other Americans but so many of the recent immigrants, especially adult women, have had so little experience driving in their native country that I think there is truth to the meme.

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