Male drivers to blame for 68pc of female road deaths
THE male of the species is deadlier than the female when they get behind the wheel.
New research shows that more than two-thirds of women who died in car crashes from 1997-2006 were passengers in cars driven by men.
And the Road Safety Authority (RSA) yesterday revealed that half of all young women would accept a lift from someone they knew had been drinking.
Noel Brett, chief executive of the RSA, said that eight out of every 10 women felt unsafe as passengers in a car, with speeding cited as the main cause of concern.
"The scary stuff is eight out of 10 young women questioned said they regularly felt frightened travelling with a male driver," he said. "The big issue was speed, and when they did comment on speed the experience they inevitably found was the male driver would speed up.
"It's not reported as cool among the peer group to ask people to slow down. We're trying to empower young women to ask men to drive at an appropriate speed.
"One of the scariest findings was almost half of the respondents said they would travel with someone who has consumed alcohol, and regularly do so, and that's a frightening statistic."
The figures, compiled by the RSA and cross-border group CAWT (Co-Operation and Working Together), show 1,444 women were killed or seriously injured in road collisions where men were driving the car.
Of these, 345 women died, two-thirds of which (234 or 68pc) were passengers in a car driven by a male. The figures also show that seven out of 10 female passengers, aged between 17 and 24, died while travelling in cars driven by males in the same age group.
Yesterday, the RSA and CAWT launched the 'He Drives, She Dies' campaign, which is funded by the European Union to empower females to say no to getting into a car with a man who drives dangerously.
The campaign will tell females they are more likely to be killed by a male driver, and will take the form of a radio, internet and poster campaign.
"There are over 1,440 young women dead or seriously injured and that's so unnecessary," Mr Brett said. "We're really trying to appeal to young women not to travel with young men who are driving like this.
"It's education and empowerment. This is a campaign trying to enlist the support and help of young women. It's trying to get at young guys and young women. It takes a lot of strength to put on your safety belt and ask people to slow down."
Maggie Martin, project manager of CAWT, added that young women were consistently "over-represented" in their decision to get into a car with someone they know had been drinking.
"Speeding also played a huge factor, with some respondents even suggesting it's not cool to ask someone to slow down," she said.
"Dangerous driving kills, and you are more at risk of being killed if you are female aged 17-24 being driven in a car by a male aged 17-24. Our message is simple -- don't take that risk. Don't let it be a case of 'He Drives; She Dies'."