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Home > News > Careless Driving > Dispelling the Myths around Women Drivers in the UK
Women Drivers

Google lists 6,090,000 hits when you enter the search terms ‘Women driver jokes’. Men on the other hand, are idolised and routinely depicted in Hollywood blockbusters as the more skilled and adept drivers – ‘Drive’, ‘Fast and Furious’ and ‘James Bond’ to name but a few cult driving films with male magician drivers behind the wheel!

Geoffrey Miller Solicitors deal exclusively in representing motorists for all forms of motoring offences and prior to analysing this issue, we had been aware that more men than women tend to get in touch with us, particularly in relation to the more serious offences such as drink driving, drug driving and dangerous driving. Government statistics year-on-year tend to back this observation up.

What do the stats say?

The Ministry of Justice has year-on-year produced statistics which outline that in 2008, women were responsible for 15% of the total motoring accidents on the roads. The figure has been increasing each year, which may not be surprising as over the past 15 years women drivers have seen an overall increase by 29%.

Currently, it can be said that women account for 14.7% (2015) of the overall accidents on the road. However, according to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) the majority of serious motoring offences are caused by men. After considering recent government statistics, in 2015/2016 women accounted for 26% of the overall serious road offences in the United Kingdom. Considering the overall conviction statistic for death by dangerous driving, data confirms that men are (more often than not) the perpetrators as well as the victims. An overwhelming 95% of deaths caused by dangerous driving in Britain are prosecuted against men. In addition to this, men are more likely to commit specific offences, including speeding and drink-driving.

However, a 2014 study has revealed a recent increase in the number of women convicted of drink-driving (‘16% between 2006-2012’ and 11% between 2012-2015’) compared to the number of men that were convicted of the same offence; this number has begun to decline by a staggering 24%. This could be attributed to the sheer increase in the number of motor vehicles on the road today. The RAC Foundation reports that over there has been an overall 23% growth of female drivers on the road in the UK between 1995-2010 and it is expected that by 2020 that number would double.

However, the question must be asked, do these figures reflect the truth about women drivers – or are more prominent factors such as policing, prosecuting and the Criminal Justice systems’ attitudes towards women to blame? Is there any truth to the notion that a woman’s feminine charm has the ability to ‘get her out of a sticky situation’ when stopped by police? Surely not!?

women v men drivers

Who is the ‘ideal’ driver?

Research conducted by Privilege Insurance has identified that after conducting numerous tests – women seem to be better, safer and more diligent drivers than men.  The ‘ideal’ driver was found to be a ‘female, between the ages of 46 and 50, working as a software engineer, with children’. These variables were determined through a series of surveys and tests which aimed at identifying which characteristics the safest drivers on British roads possessed. Women were also identified as being more capable of paying attention for longer periods of time than their male counterparts.

Men do however tend to be on the roads more, as their annual mileage far outweighs that of the female demographic; a by-product of this seems to be numerous tickets thanks to their need-for-speed! Not to mention traditionally, professions such as ‘truckers’ and long-haul motorists tend to comprise more male drivers than females.

Another speculative factor that might have an impact on these statistics is the fact that men tend to be the largest consumer demographic of high-performance cars; ‘Pistonheads’ if you will. Arguably, the mere sight of a high-performance car, with a male behind the wheel is enough to trigger a suspicion amongst police officers which may explain the amount of cases we deal with on a weekly basis.

So who’s having the last laugh now, ey?!

The staggering amount of research reviewed between 2010-2015 from the Ministry of Justice and Transport Authorities support earlier surveys conducted by the Privilege institute which confirm that female drivers outscored males, not only in ‘in-car’ tests but also when observed anonymously tackling many busy junctions.

Funnily enough, the old-joke that women are worse behind the wheel can be said to no longer apply in modernised Britain. Women have officially shaken the ‘bad-driver’ tag off and maybe there is now, some merit in the saying that “Nothing confuses a man more than a woman (driver) who does everything right!”

*Privilege Insurance Research – Women are actually better drivers than men

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