Online Auto Insurance: Study Contradicts Gender-Based Driver Characterizations

April 04, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicating that young female drivers may be twice as likely as young male drivers to use an electronic device behind the wheel is putting a new wrinkle in the debate over whether young males or young females are safer behind the wheel, according to Online Auto Insurance.

There is an abundance of statistics attesting to the fact that females as a whole are safer than males while driving, the common explanation for which is that they tend to take fewer risks behind the wheel. And those statistics end up affecting insurance costs, with young males getting charged substantially more than young females to offset the cost of the added risk. For instance, insurance pricing data from 49 insurers made available by regulators in the Golden State show that, all other things being equal, cheap auto insurance in California is almost always more available to females.

An analysis of the 98 sample quotes provided by state regulators showed that only four of the 49 insurers charged younger males the same amount as or less than their female counterparts with the same car, driving experience and location.

Males licensed for between three and five years were quoted, on average, 13 percent more than their female counterparts. When the gap was at its biggest, males paid 40 percent more than females.


Federal crash data and publications like Quality Planning's 2008 report that broke traffic violations down by gender back this pricing trend. Federal data show men get into crashes at a rate that's 37 percent higher than females, and Quality Planning's report showed men rack up reckless driving violations at a rate that's more than three times that of women's.

But the Foundation's new in-car camera study-the first of its kind-of 38 newly licensed drivers showed that females were twice as likely to use electronic devices while driving as their male counterparts. But that's not to say that the young male drivers were attentive 100 percent of the time. Of the clips examined by researchers, about 8 percent showed female drivers using electronic devices, while the rate was only 4 percent for young males.

Although the practice probably isn't as dangerous as other things like reckless driving, much has been made in recent years of the serious dangers of talking and texting behind the wheel, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noting that in 2009 about 5,500 people were killed in accidents involving driver distraction. Another 448,000 were injured in such accidents.

For more on this and other coverage issues, head to for access to informative resource pages and an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator.