LOS ANGELES – Women are more likely than men to mistake the gas pedal for the brakes, according to federal safety regulators.

But before all those male drivers out there smugly stereotype women as bad drivers, men are more likely to be involved in an accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

“The most consistent finding across data sources was the striking overrepresentation of females in pedal misapplication crashes, relative to their involvement in all types of crashes,” the agency said in a report supporting its proposal this week to require automakers to make brake-throttle override systems standard in all vehicles.

The override systems help drivers regain control when a vehicle accelerates suddenly. Analysts say the override will help stop many instances of sudden acceleration but aren’t likely to prevent people from careening out of control when they step on the wrong pedal.

NHTSA estimates there are about 15 pedal misapplication crashes per month in the United States, and that the drivers in almost two-thirds of such crashes were women.

The agency speculated on several reasons why women might be more likely to be involved in such crashes. 

The incidents occur most often in parking lots, NHTSA said. Could it be all those trips to the shopping mall? NHTSA didn’t elaborate except to say most of these crashes are occurring in “commercial parking lots.”

The agency also noted that women typically have “a poorer fit in their cars due to shorter stature, which may increase the likelihood of a pedal application error.”

Other NHTSA data show that men were involved in 57 percent of all crashes while women were involved in 46 percent. Additionally, male drivers are three times as likely as female drivers to be killed in a crash.

Drivers ages 16 to 20 and those 76 or older were most likely to be involved in pedal misapplication crashes.