The image at left is that of crash victim Justice Melton, taken from this article from the Quad-City Times (an Iowa-based local publication). I found it while trying to search for images of Brooke Melton, one of the victims named in the GM Cobalt/G5 lawsuit. Close Enough, I figure.
I'm not trying to present a misogynist, anti-female driver argument here - nor am I trying to go towards the complete opposite direction and "go Jezebel" on you guys (and I'm very strongly hoping that won't be taken as an anti-Jezebel statement either - if so I won't hesitate to amend it). I do, however, find it disconcerting that females seem to have an extremely lopsided representation in high- or very high-profile crash related deaths, whether they're the hapless (and blameless) victims (as in the case of Brooke and Justice), the perpetrators or in many cases, both.
I am at a loss towards explaining why young women have such lopsided representation, what the specific causes are and most important of all, how to stop them from becoming victims or perpetrators. General statistical logic should say that women shouldn't be victimized or perpetrate car crimes any more than men - and that in either case it should be going down anyway given advances in technology and how auto-related deaths and car crime has been decreasing (when proportioned to population). I can roll out the usual theories, though:
"Missing White Women Syndrome" - It's been suggested through a number of more targeted theories that young women (regardless of race or ethnicity) draw more attention than any other demographic. If it leads, it has to do more than bleed, particularly in today's media environment. Therefore, the seeming lopsided statistics leaning toward women could be a media invention with no actual statistical backing.
A Cultural Reinforcement - On the other hand, if there is actual statistical data to suggest that young women do have greater involvement in fatal crashes, one of the culprits could be a reinforcement of a lack of care or understanding of how an automobile actually works and should be operated. This can take many forms and many consequences, including those that are non-gender specific or gender neutral. For example, the general failing of driver's education courses to properly prepare student drivers of both sexes (see previously linked article) or a cultural shift in attitude moving away from aspirational car ownership towards electronic devices and social media (whether you believe in such a shift or not). It can also be gender/sex-specific: in American culture, females, particularly young females, are seen as being less caring towards automotive issues, and this tends to be self-manifesting in aspirational attitudes between males and females (i.e., young males aspire towards Mustangs and Bimmers, young women aspire towards social status or non-automotive or socially-related material goods). Potential consequences can include both a lack of care and lack of realization, in turn leading to woefully underdeveloped driving skills necessary to extricate herself out of a dangerous driving situation, or putting herself in dangerous driving situations through intoxication.
Odd Coincidence or Just Something Else/None of the Above - But this doesn't explain Brooke Melton's death, which resulted from an automotive malfunction (and apparently a scenario where driving skill wasn't much helpful). Some aspects of the crash can be explained from the above two theories - Brooke being named specifically in media sources because she's indeed a young white woman, or statistical information that suggests that young women tend to favor more junk on their keychains (the cited cause of the Cobalt malfunction). Regardless, young women do show up in high-profile crashes regularly, including crashes related to mechanical faults:
Or as victims where the fault is related to another driver (including when they're not even in a car).
I do find it significant enough of a problem where it needs immediate addressing, but I'm at a loss as to what the specific solution (or even root cause) is. An increase in awareness in driver's ed will certainly help. Or maybe it is truly, merely a media mirage. Maybe it's a strange convergence of cosmic forces - not to sound controversial but maybe the universe really does have it in for young women even if ever, ever so slightly. I'm of the type who believes there has to be an explanation, a cause for everything - and once you discover the cause, it's only a few steps away towards finding the cure. Or maybe I'm just overly optimistic and irrational like that.
Or maybe I'm overly worried about my loved ones or future daughter being the next "if it bleeds, it leads" clickbait.
ADDENDUM: I do want to add that I'm trying to raise awareness regarding the prevention of auto-related fatalities among young women...as admittedly sensationalist as this article comes off as. I should've made effort to mention that in the initial publishing.