Recent trends suggest that teenage girls drive more recklessly than boys.
Formerly, teenage boys have been known as being the most reckless drivers but a recent report indicates that teenage girls are also gaining that same reputation.
Allstate Foundation released a report entitled “Shifting Teen Attitudes: The State of Teen Driving 2009” which showed that more girls admit to driving recklessly, speeding, adjusting music, or using a cell phone while driving more times than boys.
New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. actuary Thomas DeFalco said that two decades ago, the cost to insure teen boys costs twice as much for boys. Currently, it costs 20% to 30% more for boys, indicating a rising trend.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that more girls are driving under the influence of alcohol and consequently getting into more fatal road mishaps than ever before. THE NHTSA released data accumulated over the past 12 years involving female drivers aged between 16 to 24 years of age. In the same age bracket, those who were involved in fatal alcohol-related road mishaps increased by 3.1%, while the male driver rate rose by just 1.2%.
Salon Magazine expert Tracy Clark-Flory said that recent studies dealing with teen drivers indicate that young girls are “acting like dudes.” She also said that “femininity” is declining.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety former chief scientist Allan Williams said that more young girls today adapt to a more ‘assertive’ lifestyle and prefer joining competitive sports. He added that, in terms of risk-taking attitudes, this “narrows” the gender gap.
However, the recent findings are also in question. Clark-Flory said that the Allstate study may be unreliable since it was based on “self-reporting.” She also said that the NHTSA study does not prove anything new since the disparity between driving behaviors of both genders still shows that young men are still more ‘reckless.’
Reckless behavior has been associated with an emerging belief among teens that they are “immune to harm.”
In July last year, Pediatrics magazine revealed that teens are increasingly becoming more pessimistic on their outlook of life expectancy. 20,000 teens were surveyed and about 15% said that they would probably die before they turn 35 years old. This fatalistic view may lead into careless life choices, behavior, and even turning their pessimistic views into a “self-fulfilling prophesy.”
In Texas, fatal accidents resulting in deaths among teenagers have declined in the past five years due to relatively successful teen-centered education programs and stricter driver’s license laws. “Teens in the Driver Seat” is the state’s peer-to-peer campaign spearheaded by teens themselves in their respective high schools. The campaign employs newsletters, text message campaigns, and video contests to increase the awareness of driving risks for teens.