Report: Teen Girls Closing Gap with Boys in Risky Driving

Several recent studies suggest that teenage girls are riskier drivers than they were a decade ago, according to U.S. News & World Report. They are now more likely to drive distracted, and they drive under the influence at a rate that almost matches that of their male counterparts.

The report cited a recent study from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs finding that between 1996 and 2007, the difference shrunk between the chances that an underage male motorist and that an underage female motorist would drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1 percent.

“Compared with estimates obtained from a decade earlier, young women in this study are at an increased risk of involvement in alcohol-related crashes,” researchers stated in the study. They also stated that, “the risk for involvement in an alcohol-related crash for underage women has increased to the point where it has become the same as that for underage men.”

Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that males and females are both cutting their crash rates but that men are making greater strides than women. Men still far outnumber women in the number of fatal, injury- and property-related crashes that they are involved in, according to data compiled between 1988 and 2009, but the gap in every category has continually shrunk.

In 1988, men’s fatal crash rate was 217 percent higher than women’s, but by 2009 the involvement rate for men was only 180 percent higher.

Male drivers were involved in injury crashes at a rate that was 52 percent higher than women’s rate in 1988, but that figure was cut down to 23 percent by 2009.

Collisions involving only property damage involved men at a 66 percent higher rate than women in 1988, but the difference shrunk to 34 percent in 2009.

Including all three accident categories shows male drivers were a total of 62 percent more likely than women to be involved in a traffic crash in 1988. In 2009, they were only 31 percent more likely.

And the trend has been consistent over the past decade: The figure was 49 percent in 2000 and dropped to 40 percent by 2005.

U.S. News & World Report also cited a recent AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety study that showed that teen girls were 10 percent more likely to drive while distracted by engaging in activities like eating or drinking, adjusting controls, grooming and reading.

Parents looking for the cheapest insurance in California for their female teenage driver will find differences company-to-company in the rates they are quoted. A 2012 survey of 49 insurance providers in the Golden State showed a wide range of premiums charged to a female driver, licensed three to five years, driving 7,600 to 10,000 miles annually with no violations or accidents on record: some companies like Wawanesa showed no difference in premiums between a female and male driver while others like State Farm showed that premiums for male drivers were 39 percent higher. The survey showed that, on average, California insurance carriers charge 13 percent higher premiums to male drivers.

But the difference may be shrinking as more studies are published showing girls are increasingly engaging in dangerous driving habits, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“Insurance companies, it seems, are increasingly less likely to charge teenage boys significantly more than teenage girls,” writer Jason Koebler stated in his report.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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