Ernakulam women better drivers than men: Report
Study conducted by dept of economics and statistics indicates that men are 13 times more likely to meet with accidents
KOCHI: When it comes to driving on the road, stereotyping women as unstable or risky drivers is easy. But a new study reveals that women tend to be better drivers than men, at least in Ernakulam. The study indicates that men are 13 times more likely to meet with accidents than women. Over 56,000 males, 4,379 females and five transgender people met with road accidents in Ernakulam between 2018 and 2022.
The study titled ‘Road Accidents in Kerala’ was released last week. The Department of Economics and Statistics considered Ernakulam for the study as the district topped the list for the highest number of road accidents in the state. The district also has the highest percentage of women drivers in Kerala.
“In the gender-wise comparison of total drivers involved in road accidents in Ernakulam district during the last five years (2018 to 2022), the study revealed a definite trend of significantly higher accident rates for male drivers than female drivers,” the report said.
The higher accident rates in men could be influenced by the difference in driving behaviour between men and women, with men more involved in high-speed motorcycling. Female drivers may be more likely to drive at lower speeds and overtake more carefully. While male drivers may be more skilled and try to perform difficult manoeuvres, they are also more likely to risk driving under the influence of alcohol, the report said.
However, officials attribute this statistic to there being more men drivers than women in the district.
Interestingly, 150 drivers under 18 were involved in road accidents in the district during this period, and of these, six were women. In the age category of above sixty, 3,030 drivers were involved in mishaps. Of these, 56 were women drivers.
More women drivers involved in accidents fall under the age categories of 26–35 (1,254 cases) and 36–45 (1,282 cases). Ernakulam had the highest number of total road accidents (27,590) among all the districts in Kerala during 2018–2022. The district accounts for 14.88 per cent of total road accidents in Kerala during 2018–2022, the highest among all other districts. Thiruvananthapuram comes in second with 12.69% of total road accidents. Wayanad has the least — 1.67% of total road accidents in Kerala.
From 2018 to 2022, the highest number of accidents and injuries in Kerala was reported in Ernakulam Rural Region, with 17,239 total accident cases, and at the second position came Alappuzha Region, with 16,230 cases. These two regions had a very high number of people injured in accidents (above 20,000) during these five years. The fact that Ernakulam has the greatest number of registered vehicles can also be read along with this data.
However, the accident death percentage, that is, the number of fatalities per 100 people injured in accidents, is the highest in Palakkad. In contrast, Ernakulam City reported the lowest death percentage due to the advanced medical facilities (number of hospitals, ambulance services, etc.) and improved use of road safety measures (helmets, seatbelts, etc.).
Justice K S Radhakrishnan, who headed the three-member panel on road safety appointed by the Supreme Court, cited the lack of proper road discipline as a major reason for the rise in road mishaps. “Several crowd-attracting centres such as schools, shopping malls, cinema theatres, and hospitals are located on roadsides and at main junctions, and this disrupts smooth vehicular movement. The hospitals shall be given an exception as they could serve their purpose in an emergency. However, the other institutions should set up in the interiors,” he said.
The report said strict implementation of traffic rules and stringent punishments alone would not solve the persisting problem. A change in the mindset of riders, drivers, and road users, realising their responsibilities alone, will bring about a change.
The road safety curriculum needs to be included in both High School and Higher Secondary school syllabuses. A better understanding of why and how accidents occur through investigation of the share of each contributing factor towards them and effective implementation of proper road safety measures is required for mitigation of this problem, said the report. DCP Kochi City Police S Sasidharan said the police are initiating strict measures to curtail road accidents.
Safe driving measures
- Well-maintained vehicles with good brakes, lights, tyres, etc, will reduce accidents
- Older vehicles and highly polluting vehicles should be phased out
- Vehicles should be provided with seat belts and other necessary safety provisions like airbags