Woman drivingEnlarge Photo
Gentlemen: on a scale of one to ten, how much do you value your relationship with your wife? Girlfriend? Mother? Sister? Female co-workers? If you answered more than, say, a five, you might want to skip this article entirely, because it could get you into a lot of trouble.
You see, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently commissioned a study from the TransAnalytics research firm and the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina. And that study found that women seem predisposed to hit the gas when they really mean to hit the brake.
In fact, the data reveals that women are twice as likely to accidentally hit the accelerator than men are.
The study looked at police data on crashes that occurred within North Carolina and at news reports on accidents that happened elsewhere. And in cases of unintended acceleration, women were at fault roughly 66% of the time.
But it's not just women who are to blame. The study found that older drivers and younger drivers are particularly dangerous when it comes to gas-pedal accidents.
In North Carolina, those accidents were most common among persons younger than 20 and older than 76. In out-of-state news reports, though, seniors clearly cause the most mayhem, with folks over 76 blamed for 40% of all unintended acceleration accidents. (Older drivers also shouldered the blame in many of those Toyota and Lexus accidents, which led to the recall fiasco of 2010.)
Men: if you're still reading this, please note that you're not off the hook yet. In fact, when the number-crunchers leading the study looked at all accidents -- not just those involving unintended acceleration -- guys were at fault 60% of the time.
What's behind all these numbers? Are men really more dangerous behind the wheel? Why are women more likely to be involved in gas-pedal accidents? Do women in North Carolina need to change their shoes?
We have no idea -- and even if we did, we probably wouldn't hazard a guess.
But it does raise a question we've already raised once today: how much good are NHTSA's brake-override regulations really going to do?