Young Women Reportedly in the Driver’s Seat

August 27, 2003

Common wisdom has it reportedly that it’s the young men who are the fast drivers. Not anymore, reveals a national survey from The Hartford Financial Services Group.

“Our culture traditionally has associated young men with fast cars and fast driving,” said George Thacker, senior vice president, personal lines marketing at The Hartford. “But that appears to be changing. Results from our recent survey of American drivers show that young women are literally leaving their male counterparts in the dust, and unfortunately, they’re also getting into more accidents.”

The survey reportedly found that 56 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 24 think it’s acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit on highways, compared to 46 percent of their male counterparts. And although the majority of young women and young men think it’s not acceptable to speed on local roads, more young women (21 percent) say it’s okay to speed than young men (13 percent).

“When it comes to driving, young women definitely appear to be living more dangerously, and like the male hot rodder of the past, they’re suffering more of the consequences,” said Thacker. “Forty-five percent of young women report being in an accident in the past three years, compared to 33 percent of young male drivers.”

Thacker noted an interesting incongruity revealed by the survey: that even though young men are speeding less, they’re getting more tickets than young women drivers. Forty-eight percent of young men have received a speeding ticket, compared to 37 percent of young women.

“The good news is that when it comes to obeying common rules of the road, young women tend to drive more cautiously than young men,” continued Thacker. “They’re more likely than their male counterparts to reduce speed when roads are wet, to avoid passing vehicles on the right and to stop when a school bus has yellow lights flashing.

“Young drivers need to be reminded of all the benefits of safe driving, including the financial ones. Fast driving, obviously, threatens safety and can cause accidents, but it also can drive up insurance costs. Parents with teenagers who are good drivers will want to make sure their premium accurately reflects the driving record and risk of each driver on their insurance policy.”

The nationally representative study, which was conducted by Opinionsite, an independent research company, surveyed more than 1,000 registered drivers, aged 18 or older, across the country earlier this year. It had a +/- 3 percent margin of error.

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