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Women drivers now outnumber men on U.S. roads

A University of Michigan study finds that women with driver's licenses outnumber men for the first time.

By Douglas Newcomb Nov 23, 2012 7:39AM

220 - Ania Driver Sunset. Photo by Flikr user gingerpig2000.According to a study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), for the first time more women than men have driver’s licenses in the U.S. 


The study, which looked at gender trends in driver licensing between 1995 and 2010, found that in 1995 men of all ages with driver’s licenses marginally outnumbered women, 89.2 million to 87.4 million. But by 2010, 105.7 million women had licenses, compared with 104.3 million men.


The study also found that the number of both male and female teens and young adults with driver’s licenses is declining, although the drop is sharper among young men. It noted that the share of men ages 25 to 29 years old with driver’s licenses declined 10.6 percent over the past 15 years, whereas the share of women of the same age with driver’s licenses dropped by about half that amount, 4.7 percent.

Michael Sivak, the co-author of the study, told the Associated Press that Internet usage may be partly to blame for the drop in young drivers, especially men.

Another study by UMTRI published earlier this year discovered that countries with higher Internet usage have a lower driver’s licensing rate among teens and young adults. “There is some suggestive evidence that Internet contact is reducing the need for personal contact,” Sivak said.

The Internet isn’t the only technology to blame. Some young people want to drive less and use public transportation more, some researchers claim. Texting while driving is illegal in most states — and dangerous on any road — but teens and young people can text or surf the Internet on a portable device while riding on a bus or train. Consequently, some public transit systems have seen substantial increases in ridership.

The only age group in which male drivers still slightly outnumber women is under 44, but that's simply because young men outnumber young women in the general population. Each year, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls in the U.S. But women outnumber men later in life because they live longer, with an average lifespan of approximately 80 years for women, compared with about 75 years for men.

The study notes that the gender reversal on the road could have a significant influence on the types of cars that will be produced in the future as well as other factors related to personal transportation. “The changing gender demographics will have major implications on the extent and nature of vehicle demand, energy consumption and road safety,” Sivak said.

Specifically, he noted that women are more apt than men to purchase smaller, safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and are also likely to drive less and have a lower fatality rate per distance. Better buy that muscle car while you still can.

[Source: Autoblog]
9Comments
Nov 26, 2012 10:53AM
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Crash testing will now be changed to include offset rearview mirror crashes. The dummy will be set in process of putting on make-up.

Nov 25, 2012 7:32AM
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"Not all women want small cute cars around here most still prefer pickups and suvs."

That is generation X, the so called "lost generation", to which I also belong, and I am sorry to say, our predecessors were right: we are mostly a retarded generation, attempting to dumb down generation Y and make retards out of them too.

Generation Y is an urban, modern, connected generation. It does not want pickup trucks and SUV's because they mostly live in the cities because of the economic situation (brought on in large part by generation X). And in cities, small cars are much better than cumbersome, fuel-inefficient pickup trucks and SUV's.

Just try parking a lumbering SUV in a strict city center... and we have not even touched upon the fuel inefficiency of such a huge hunk-o'-metal in city context.
Nov 23, 2012 9:29AM
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Looks like a future with "cute", "sporty", "adorable" cars in blue or red with automatic transmissions...
Nov 25, 2012 8:34AM
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51% of Americans live in cities whereas 49% don't.   If you're in the 49%, odds are that you don't have a public transit system consisting of buses, trains, subways or even sidewalks.  In the 49% area of living, you have no choice but to get your driving license irreguardless of your gender or generation.... unless you're reying others to drive you places....of course probably outside of the range of a "city" designed electric vehicle.  It seems more and more automakers are leaving the urban folks behind with their vehicles and favoring more city dwellers with their designs.  The urban dwellers are then left with outdated fuel guzzlers that although needed for farming, ranching, etc....could be made more fuel efficient and much, much cheaper due to less technology required.   

 

 

Nov 23, 2012 8:42AM
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"It noted that the share of men ages 25 to 29 years old with driver’s licenses declined 10.6 percent over the past 15 years, whereas the share of women of the same age with driver’s licenses dropped by about half that amount, 4.7 percent."

Heh heh... I think that sends a very clear message to auto manufacturers in the United States:

"keep building huge pickup trucks, minivans and SUV's, and in a few decades you will be out of customers."

"Better buy that muscle car while you still can."

Only if it has a V8 clean diesel and a manual transmission. Oh, it does not? Well then, they can keep their "muscle" car. Good luck to auto manufacturers with that, and do let me know how that works out for them.
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