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Who Is at Greatest Risk in Vehicular Accidents?


Car crashes are among the most deadly types of accidents in the US. However, not everyone is equally at risk of injuries or death during a collision. In fact, recent studies suggest specific demographics are at significantly higher risk of severe injuries or death if they’re involved in a crash. 

These demographic differences have a variety of causes. Regardless of the reason, it’s essential to be aware of the risks you face when you’re on the road. Here’s what you need to know about the groups who are in the most danger in a car accident and what you can do to reduce these risks.

The People That Get Hurt Most Often in Car Crashes

While everyone is at risk in car crashes, some people are more likely to get injured than others. In general, smaller people suffer more injuries. Here are the most demographics that are more likely to get hurt in a crash and how you can protect yourself or your loved ones who fall into one of these categories


The most significant difference in car accident deaths and serious injuries is the gender gap. A study performed by the American Journal of Public Health studied a decade’s worth of accidents between 1998-2008. This study found that women were 47% more likely to suffer from severe injuries in vehicle accidents than men. 

The researchers put forth the hypothesis that the discrepancy was due to inequitable testing practices by car manufacturers. According to the study, women may be at higher risk of extreme injuries due to their average shorter height and closer proximity to the steering wheel and airbag. According to the researchers, testing by safety manufacturers was based on the average adult male. This may mean that tests did not account for shorter people, and the safety features provided less protection for women than for men.

This is most likely less of a risk in recent cars. Many vehicles in the study were manufactured years or even decades before the 2000s, when vehicle safety was less regulated. Modern standards require manufacturers to consider various possible heights and weights when testing protective measures. 

Still, women should be cautious when driving or riding in any vehicle. Adjust your seatbelt, so it’s comfortable and easy to use. The lap belt should rest on your hips, and the chest belt should cross your chest without touching your neck. You can get seatbelt shorteners if it is too high for comfort. You can also get seat belt extenders if necessary. 


Regardless of gender, children are at significant risk during any car crash. Unintentional injuries cause 41.3% of deaths in children between the ages of 1 and 18, more than double any other cause. Car accidents cause about a quarter of those fatal unintentional injuries overall. This makes crashes the third most common reason for childhood fatalities in the US. 

Many of these fatalities and similar non-fatal but severe injuries could be avoided with appropriate restraints and vehicle safety. The CDC recommends that all children be restrained appropriately for their age, height, and weight:

  • Infants and toddlers should be buckled into rear-facing car seats in the back row until they outgrow the weight and height limits of the seat.
  • Children under 5 should be buckled into forward-facing car seats until they outgrow the height or weight limits.
  • Children who have outgrown car seats should use booster seats until the seat belt fits them comfortably without one.
  • All children 12 and younger should ride in the back seat.

Older Adults

The CDC reports that drivers over 70 are more likely to die in a crash than drivers younger than 54. This appears to be due to a higher susceptibility to injury overall in older adults when controlled for driving skills. Crashes and injuries that may have been survivable for younger adults are more difficult for older people to recover from and more likely to lead to death or permanent disabilities. 

Older adults may also be more likely to be involved in crashes than other demographics. However, this is not due to age alone but rather because of age-related decreases in function, such as slower reaction times, worse eyesight, or cognitive decline. Older adults who do not experience these symptoms of aging may be less likely to be involved in crashes due to greater caution when driving. 

Adults over 70 can protect themselves whether they’re driving or riding as a passenger by taking basic precautions. The CDC recommends that older drivers:

  • Have their eyes checked annually and wear prescription lenses if necessary
  • Exercise to maintain mobility, strength, and reaction times
  • Consult with their physician to ensure any necessary medications will not have unexpected interactions that may make driving more dangerous
  • Prioritize driving in well-lit, well-marked streets
  • Drive defensively, avoiding speeding and giving cars around you plenty of space
  • Avoid driving when feeling tired, distracted, or scattered

If you are over 70, the best way to avoid the risk of serious injuries or fatalities is to be cautious. With appropriate care, you can continue driving independently without putting yourself or others at risk. 

Take Action After Your Accident

Regardless of your gender, age, or preferred method of transport, you deserve safety when traveling. If you’ve been in an accident, you have the right to hold the person who hurt you accountable for their actions. You can take legal action against the liable party and ensure you receive the funds you need to recover.At the Ellis Helm, APC, we are dedicated to advocating for our clients and helping them pursue just compensation for their injuries. We will work with you to build your case and stand up for you in negotiations and court. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about how we can help you.