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Women Surpass Men When It Comes To Driving

According to a recent report from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute more women than men have a drivers license. The study examined gender trends in driver licensing between 1995 and 2010. This is a reversal of a longtime trend according to transportation researchers and will likely have both economic and safety implications.

The gap is likely to get bigger as teens and young adults, both girls and boys are getting drivers licenses later in life. The decline is much bigger for teen boys and young men according to the study. Michael Sivak, co-author of the study predicted in a statement "The changing gender demographics will have major implications on the extent and nature of vehicle demand, energy consumption, and road safety. Women are more likely than men to purchase smaller, safer and more fuel-efficient cars; to drive less, and to have a lower fatality rate per distance driven.”

The study covered 15 years and found that the percent of men aged 25 to 29 with a license dropped a whopping 10.6 percent. On the other hand, women of the same age only saw a decline of 4.7 percent in licensed drivers.

From the beginning of driving males have outnumbered women when it comes to licenses. In the 1950’s roughly half of adult woman had a drivers license. This gap closed over time, by 1995 men outnumbered women with a license 89.2 million to 87.4 million. Women had moved ahead by 2010 with 105.7 million women having a driver’s licenses compared with only 104.3 million men.

While women drivers outnumber males in most age groups, males under age 44 are still slightly ahead of women drivers. According to the study this can be attributed to the fact that young males outnumber young females in the general population. Currently there are 105 boys born every year for every 100 girls. Women tend to live longer so they outnumber males later in life.

Why Teens Are Not Driving

Young men may be more interested in getting online than getting out on the road. According to an earlier study by the Transportation Institute, countries with higher Internet usage have a lower rate of driver licensure for teens and young adults. 

Experts have also theorized that technology has made driving less important and desirable. Public transportation is easier and allows a person to continue to text or work on their laptop which is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous while driving a car. These theories have been validated to varying degrees by increases in the use of public transit systems.

In addition to these factors, the American romance with the car is not as strong as it once was. The economy is not helping either. Employment has declined among 16 to 24 year olds. This can make car payments and car insurance out of reach for many young drivers.

The number of females with driver’s licenses has increased enough to surpass male drivers. This can be explained in part by the fact that younger Americans are not driving in the numbers they used to, social media and the economy are also factors.