Women More Likely to Confuse Gas with Brake Pedal

A recent accident highlights the serious injuries residents of North Carolina can suffer at the hands of an inattentive driver. Several people were hurt when a 76-year-old woman ran into the front door of a grocery store. Under police questioning after the car accident, the woman said she was attempting to stop at a stop sign just outside the store when she hit the gas instead of the brake pedal.

Similar incidents have taken place in recent years. In 2003, an 86-year-old man ran into an open air market in California, killing 10 and injuring 63. TransAnalytics LLC conducted a study on accidents in which drivers mistakenly hit the gas pedal. The study showed that approximately two-thirds of drivers involved in these types of accidents were elderly women and female teenagers.

However, even though women are more likely to hit the gas instead of the brake, national statistics interestingly show that men are still 60 percent more likely than women to be involved in automobile accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The reason for the higher rate of female accidental acceleration accidents is unknown. In explaining why more teenagers are involved in these accidents, one theory points to the brain's executive functioning. Executive functioning in teens tends to be underdeveloped, only reaching peak function around the age of 30. It is also believed that executive functioning declines with aging. Executive functioning controls planning, attention and organizing functions of the brain.

North Carolina's state crash database shows that these accidents typically occur in parking lots, parking garages and driveways, not roadways. Individuals injured in these incidents are completely caught by surprise given the usually low risk of accidents in such situations. Many North Carolina pedestrians may find it difficult to imagine that they may be victims of car accidents.

Individuals who are injured by the negligence of other drivers may be entitled to monetary compensation. Every driver has a duty not to endanger the lives of others. Damages in this type of incident could include reimbursement for lost wages and medical bills. If you have been injured in an automobile accident that was not your fault, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.