Online Auto Insurance: Survey Says Females Likelier to Text Behind Wheel

May 01, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
A new survey of 2,000 teens commissioned by Bridgestone found that young female drivers are "far more likely" than males to engage in distracted driving and more than twice as likely to type or read a text behind the wheel, highlighting gender differences that parents can use to gauge how safe their teen is on the road and how much it might cost to put them behind the wheel, according to Online Auto Insurance.

Teens don't get discounted auto insurance for their age or gender-in fact, they get charged more for lacking an extensive driving history-but there are programs with lower rates for good students at many insurance companies. Other discounts are available, including at Nationwide under its Family Plan, which applies markdowns earned by adults to teen drivers in the same home.

Younger drivers are traditionally charged higher insurance premiums because most research, like that conducted for the Bridgestone survey, links newer drivers to riskier driving behavior.

Federal officials estimate that 16 percent of the teen drivers involved in fatal collision were reported to have been distracted, making teen drivers the most likely age group to be involved such crashes.


Another study, released last month by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, backed the Bridgestone survey's findings that females used electronic devices at a far higher rate than males. According to the AAA report, girl drivers were twice as likely as boys to use an electronic device while driving.

According to the Bridgestone survey, 86 percent of young female drivers reported changing music in the car at least occasionally, compared with 72 percent of their male counterparts. Seventy-seven percent of females in the survey said they played loud music at least occasionally, compared with 63 percent of males.

It was a worse picture for female texters, who were more than twice as likely to text compared with their male counterparts: 38 percent of female respondents said they at least occasionally read texts, compared with 17 percent of males; and 27 percent of females said they at least occasionally typed texts, compared with 11 percent of males.

Overall, one-third of respondents admitted to reading texts "at least occasionally" behind the wheel, while one-fifth admitted to typing texts "at least occasionally."

The survey still found that respondents, especially younger ones, believed themselves to be at least "somewhat safe" drivers. Most of those drivers said it was because they are "responsible, cautious and follow the rules."

Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed believed they were at least "somewhat safe" because they had never been in an accident and never had a ticket or violation.

"People often believe they drive safely and responsibly, especially our newest drivers," Angela Patterson, manager of Bridgestone's Teens Drive Smart program, said in a statement. "However, we need to reinforce that it only takes one time-one sip of coffee, one change of the radio station, one glimpse at the cell phone-to cause or be involved in a crash that could have dire consequences."

OAI recommends that parents take their young drivers' opinions of themselves with a grain of salt, since parents might have a better grasp on roadway realities: only 51 percent of the respondents who said they were "very safe" drivers also said their parents would agree with that statement.

But parents may be part of the problem because they "sometimes model poor habits," according to the survey. When measuring their own parents, 13 percent of respondents who said their parents are "not very safe drivers" attributed it to "speeding or driving too fast" while 9 percent said it was because "they don't follow the rules, aren't observant or take risks."

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