ROCHESTER, N.Y. – There are now more women driving on American roads and highways than men. According to a new study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the percentage of female drivers has gradually risen since the 1960’s. Today, 50.5 percent of all drivers are women.
Researchers say the growing number of female drivers will shape road safety and the auto market for years to come. Rochester car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Cellino & Barnes said women are statistically safer drivers than men and polls show women value safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles.
“Safety now plays a major role when buying a car in Rochester,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Safety-related technologies like backup cameras, blind-spot detection and security sensors used to only exist in luxury vehicles but they’re now becoming industry standard features.”
Autotrader, an online marketplace for vehicles, reported women are putting those safety features on their “must-have” lists when shopping for a new vehicle. Auto dealers also report that women tend to buy a car out of necessity and therefore tend to focus on the most fuel-efficient, cost-efficient and safest vehicles on the market.
The study suggests there will be a shift in the way vehicles are marketed. At a time, automakers touted the horsepower, acceleration and cornering of their vehicles. However, vehicle performance is much less important to women than men, study researchers suggest.
“When you look at the statistics, it’s clear that women tend to take the safer road,” Barnes said. “Women can sometimes pay a lower insurance premium because insurers consider them a lower risk and nearly twice as many men admit to speeding.”
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) polled both genders about their driving habits and discovered some alarming disparities between male and female drivers.
-Men were twice as likely to believe that it’s okay for them to drink and drive as long as they feel capable.
-13% of men admitted to ignoring speed limits versus just 6% of women
-Men were found to be twice as likely to have fallen asleep at the wheel
-Women were less likely to use a cell phone without a hands-free device
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that men, in every age group, were more likely than women to be speeding at the time of an accident.
Although there are more women behind the wheel today than men, the guys still account for 71 percent of all traffic fatalities.
“Safety is increasingly becoming more important to families,” Barnes said. “Recently, states have introduced texting while driving laws, increased their penalties for drunk driving, and added strict regulations for certain drivers. This shows Americans, both men and women, consider safety a top priority.”