There are more women drivers than men in the United States currently, and it's a trend that is expected to increase in the future. Young people, as well as middle-aged men and women, are less likely to have a driver's license today than 20 years ago, but the trend is most severe among males, according to researchers at the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan.
In 1995, there were more men driving cars than women up to age 70, while now that is true only up to age 45, according to the researchers who used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Highway Administration. The percentage of male drivers decreased over the 15 years from 1995 to 2010 for those younger than 60, while the decrease only occurred for those younger than 50 for female drivers.
The researchers said that the likely reason for the trend is that men rely more on electronic communication, such as cellphones and the Internet, than women, which reduces their need for driving. As a result, researchers expect the trend to continue in the coming years, which is likely to make the roads safer overall.
"Females are more likely than males to purchase smaller, safer and more fuel-efficient cars. They drive less and tend to have a lower fatality rate per distance driven," said Michael Sivak, a research professor at the UM Transportation Research Institute.
Are you driving less or more than you used to? Do you think it's because you use a cellphone more than you have in the past?
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.