Has the internet lead to fewer male drivers on the road?

Nov 14, 2012
Move over guys: Female drivers overtaking males

(Phys.org)—While both young and middle-aged men and women are less likely to have a driver's license today than nearly 20 years ago, the proportion of male motorists is declining at a higher rate, according to University of Michigan researchers.

The likely culprit? Cell phones and the Internet.

"One possible interpretation of the finding that the decrease in licensure rate has been greater for males than for females is that males are relying more on than females," said Michael Sivak, a research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute. "Because virtual contact through electronic means is reducing the need for actual contact, driving demand has been reduced more for males than for females."

Using data from the and U.S. , Sivak and colleague Brandon Schoettle examined recent changes in the gender demographics of U.S. drivers from 1995 to 2010.

They found that in 1995 male drivers outnumbered female drivers for each age group up to age 70. Today, that holds true only up to age 45. In addition, the percentage of males with a driver's license decreased from 1995 to 2010 for those younger than 60. For females, this decrease occurred for those younger than 50.

"Our data indicate that the shift toward having more female than male drivers has been a gradual one that has continued throughout the 15 years examined," Sivak said. "While in 1995 male drivers outnumbered female drivers, the opposite was the case in 2010. Furthermore, we expect that this trend is likely to continue in the future, further increasing the relative proportion of female drivers."

Sivak and Schoettle say that changing gender demographics will have major implications on the extent and nature of vehicle demand, and .

"Females are more likely than males to purchase smaller, safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles, they drive less and tend to have a lower per distance driven," Sivak said.

Explore further: Less privileged kids shine at university, according to study

More information: www.umtri.umich.edu/news.php

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fewer young, but more elderly, have driver's license

Dec 02, 2011

A lower proportion of young people have a driver's license today compared to their counterparts in the early 1980s—a trend not found among older age groups, a University of Michigan study shows.

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Squirrel
not rated yet Nov 14, 2012
An alternative reason is a shift to gaining social status through igadgets and social media from cars--a shift that would affect males more than females.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.