Which group causes more accidents, drives drunk more often and is responsible for more traffic deaths? Take a look at government and auto insurance statistics.
Old stereotypes peg women as dangerous drivers, but statistics show the reality: When it comes to driving, guys are much more naughty. And insurance rates reflect that.
"Maybe the testosterone makes them more aggressive," jokes Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute. "But the fact is, the industry doesn't go by whether you have higher testosterone. It goes by numbers, and the numbers seem to support that men are generally more reckless than women."
Quality Planning, a company that validates policyholder information for auto insurers, conducted a study that concluded males are at least 50% more likely to be cited for reckless driving, seat belt violations, speeding, failure to yield and stop sign/signal violations. To be more specific, the company analyzed an entire year of policyholder information in 2007 and found that males were cited for reckless driving 3.41 times as often as females.
|Violations||Violation ratio, males vs. females|
Seat belt violations
Failure to yield
Stop sign/signal violations
"We were not surprised to see that men have slightly more -- about plus 5% -- violations that result in accidents than women," says Raj Bhat, the president of Quality Planning. "And because men are also more likely to violate laws for speeding, passing and yielding, the resulting accidents caused by men lead to more-expensive (insurance) claims than those caused by women."
The study also found that female drivers were about 27% less likely to be found at fault when involved in an accident.
Females' DUIs up 14.3%:
|Year||DUIs||Drivers||% with DUIs|
Males' DUIs down 19.7%:
|Year||DUIs||Drivers||% with DUIs|
Quality Planning's study found that males are 3.09 times as likely to drive under the influence of alcohol as females.
"It's probably one of the worst things you could get on your record," says Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California. "A DUI means you're going to pay more for insurance for a long time. Your rates will go up. It's possible that you could see a doubling of your rate."
|Type of crash||Males||Females|
Property damage only
Sources: U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2007.
"Women have a bad reputation for being bad drivers, but in most cases, from a safety point, they are better drivers," says Bob U'Ren, the senior vice president of Quality Planning.
"But it's a small factor," Moraga says. "It can range from half a percentage point to 2 or 5 points. It depends on the insurance company, and it's mostly based on its own actuarial studies."
The California Department of Insurance's Web site features a tool designed to give people an idea of car insurance quotes from specific insurance companies. It calculates a generic quote -- based on the information you provide -- for every insurance company that operates in that state. Some insurance companies -- Farmer's, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm -- display a price difference based on gender alone, and usually males pay more. A few charge females more.
|Insurance company||Premium for a male||Premium for a female|
Source: California Department of Insurance. Quote are based on a man or woman with liability coverage only, nine to 15 years of driving experience, who drives 7,600 to 10,000 miles per year, has no violations or accidents and lives in Culver City, Calif. This is a sample of insurance companies operating in the state. It is not an actual quote. Calculations are based on insurance company filings made with California.
"I think the bottom line is, whether you are male or female, what you pay for insurance is mostly based on your driving record," Moraga says.
Young male drivers are paying about 185% above their insurers' "base rate" for older male drivers, the Insurance Information Institute's Worters says (meaning the average rate charged before discounts and other adjustments, plus the insurance company's claims-processing fee). Young women pay about 120% above the base rate.
So no matter what gender you are, driving more safely benefits everyone -- and your wallet.
This article was reported by Kat Zeman for Insure.com.
Published Dec. 1, 2009
I suppose the woman who hit me last month hasn't read this article yet.
Unfortunately, like most statistics we see, it is flawed. I'd like to see what percent of drive time each gender has and add that into the statistics. In my experience, most women drive less than men. Partially because it's typically the man who picks up the girl and takes her somewhere.