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More women driving than men

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

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.

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December 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I've never understood why males are enslaved into paying more for car insurance. When it comes to women, men get the worst of everything so in a way, men are used to taking it on the chin for those that can't. Women (obviously not all) don't have the sensibility, sensitivity, awareness or the cognizance to be the kind of driver that is safe for her and the victims around her. I've seen and been in accidents CAUSED by women. And, over the years, my vehicle has been rear-ended at least 7 or 8 times... every single time by a women. And my son, by the age of 22 has had zero accidents. My daughter, at the same age has had 5. If women were charged more for insurance, society would be in a huff and demand answers, but not for men. As I said, men are used to taking it on the chin for those that can't. I am aware of the insurance company statistics and the mortality rates and all that bull. I'll say it again... women CAUSE most accidents.

December 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

"Females are more likely than males to purchase smaller, safer and more fuel-efficient cars"

Wrong! Females purchase the biggest, meanest SUVs available and drive like bats out of hell. Few things on the road scare me more than a woman driving a Mercedes SUV.

mary ann
December 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I think its because so many men lose there license for dui.

Sandra Stephens
December 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm

There are fewer male drivers because states are revoking driver's licenses of those who are delinquent on child support payments. It does not mean that they don't drive, they just don't have a license.