A study of a North Carolina car crash database recently led to a startling discovery by researchers: nearly two-thirds of accidents in which drivers accidently hit the accelerator rather than the brakes are women.
These kinds of accidents tend to involve older women driving in parking lots, the government study found.
While that makes the crashes sound like mostly harmless fender-benders -- and many of them are just that -- there are also cases of devastating injuries, and even fatalities, when a person mistakes the gas for the brake pedal.
Lest anyone think we, or the researchers, are piling on women drivers, let's remember that the concern over these gas/brake mistakes first gained national attention in 2003 with a horrific crash caused by an elderly man.
The 86-year-old hit the gas instead of the brakes, and then panicked as his car slammed through an open-air California market, killing 10 people and injuring 63.
This latest study of gas pedal accidents shows that while nearly two-thirds of the crashes involve women, the accidents tend to happen most often among drivers over the age of 76 and drivers under the age of 20.
The study included 2,400 gas pedal accidents in North Carolina and an additional analysis of about 900 news articles about these kinds of crashes nationwide.
In the North Carolina database, the accidents were nearly equally divided between elderly and young drivers.
Fifty-seven percent of the gas pedal accidents here are in parking lots, parking garages and in driveways, rather than on streets.
Source: Buffalonews.com: "Study links age, gender to runaway car accidents," April 14, 2012
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