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Teen Drivers: Surprising Statistics

Young male drivers may have a reputation for putting the pedal to the metal and being reckless on the road, but a new survey by Allstate Insurance Co. reveals that it might actually be the girls we need to watch out for.

A  national online survey of over 1,000 teens revealed that 48% of girls say they are likely to drive 10 miles over the speed limit.  For boys, that number was quite a bit lower at just 36%. And these girls aren’t just driving faster, they are also driving tougher.  16% said they would characterize their own driving style as “aggressive” as compared to 9% back in 2005.

And we aren’t done picking on the girls just yet.  When asked about talking on the phone or texting while driving,  just over half of the girls admitted that they do it, compared to 38% of boys.

Meghann Dowd, of the Allstate Foundation, says that while many people may be surprised by these numbers, she admits there is room for error in the data.  Because the teens themselves provided the information, the results are only as accurate as the respondents were honest.

In fact, at least one person thinks the boys are being less than forthcoming about their driving habits.  Adrian Mic, owner of Adrian’s Driving School in Tarrytown, N.Y, didn’t mince words when asked about the survey results.  “Trust me, boys are lying,” he says.  ” Women in general are more likely to follow the rules, in my experience.”  However, Mic does admit that girls tend to not pay attention to the speed limit and “just drive the way they feel.”

Allstate says they don’t use this type of survey data to determine rates for drivers and insist that teen girls are still a better risk than teen boys. But that gap is closing.  A spokesperson for State Farm, the largest insurance company in the nation, says that in 1985, a teen boy would pay about 61% more for insurance coverage than a teen girl.  Today, the difference is closer to 40%.

So, to what can we attribute the closing gender gap between male and female driving habits?  Some psychologists believe that a more aggressive female driver is simply a reflection of a more aggressive female.  As young women become more empowered and assertive in other areas of their lives, they are taking their new found confidence with them on the road.

Image: inhisgrace/Flickr

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