In December of 2012, the University of Michigan published an article about the changing demographics of drivers. By studying data from the Federal Highway Administration, a research professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute indicated that the number of women with driver’s licenses now exceeds the number of men with licenses.
This is a marked shift from the past that could have important implications on the types of cars that are purchased and on road safety.
Our Boston auto accident attorneys believe it is very important to understand the changing demographics of the driving population. In mid-December we considered data indicating that the population of drivers is aging. With this new Michigan study, it is important to consider what changes will occur now that female drivers outnumber men.
The Changing Demographics of Drivers
According to the University of Michigan, just under 50 percent of licensed drivers today are men and the remainder are women. The University of Michigan researcher examined demographic trends dating from 1963 to today, and back in 1963, men represented 60 percent of all drivers.
However, while the number of female drivers now exceeds the number of male drivers, men are currently still driving more than women. This means that men still currently account for more annual miles driven. In 1963, men accounted for 76 percent of vehicle miles driven but today they are responsible for 59 percent of miles traveled.
The University of Michigan research indicates that, with more licensed females and the demographic shift, these rates are declining. In other words, although men tend to drive more than women do, soon the balance in the number of miles driven may shift because the gap between male licensed driver’s and female licensed drivers is expected to widen. More females on the roads and fewer males with licenses will overcome the fact that men drive more, and women will soon account for more than 50 percent of all miles traveled.
As the Michigan study shows, over the past 15 years, the number of Americans getting drivers licenses is on the decline. However, the number of men getting licenses is decreasing at a greater margin than the number of women getting licenses. For example, when considering men between ages 25 and 29, the rate of licensed drivers has gone down by 10.6 percent. For women of the same age group, the number of licensed drivers has declined by 4.7 percent. This is a significant difference.
If trends continue, and it is expected they will, then the bulk of the miles driven will soon be driven by female drivers.
As researchers indicate, the gender trends in drivers licensing are likely to have an impact both on the type of vehicles that people are driving as well as on the safety of the roads. The shift will be driven by the fact that women usually purchase safer and smaller cars then men. Furthermore, as the University of Michigan survey points out, women tend to have a lower rate of fatalities per miles driven.
Back in 2007, MSNBC also reported that there is a significant difference in safety when comparing male drivers and female drivers. MSNBC described the results of a Carnegie Mellon University analysis of U.S. roadways. The study revealed that men are 77 percent more likely to die in a car crash then women based on the number of miles driven.
If a shift in demographics does indeed reduce car accidents, hopefully there will be fewer deaths of both men and women due to Boston car accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the Greater Boston area, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC for a free consultation. Call 1-877-617-5333.