Teenage boys have long been stigmatized as riskier drivers than teenage girls. Twenty years ago, they paid double the insurance premium of their female counterparts. Now the danger (and insurance premium) gap is closing, as young divas emerge from their shells like beautiful Botticellian Venuses, texting and sexting and working that radio while driving like the boys used to do. The result: today young men's insurance premiums are only about 25 percent more than young women's. (Women also make 77 cents to men's dollar.)
According to a study published today in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, cited by U.S. News & World Report, in 1996, an underage male driver (aged 16-20) with a blood alcohol concentration of .1 percent was four times as likely as a similarly impaired underage female to get into a fatal car accident.
By 2007, that gap had closed.
Eduardo Romano, one of the study's co-authors, speculates that the rise in fatal accidents among female drivers may be related to Independent Women (Part I)'s new found taste for danger, in the form of night driving. As he told U.S. News & World Report:
"I think it's a reflection that women have become more independent out in the world. In the past, men always drove on dates, now more women are driving themselves. They're driving more often at night. Night is always a much more risky time to drive."
According to a AAA report released last week, newly licensed teen girls are also twice as likely as boys to use an electronic device while driving. They are more likely to eat, drink, and adjust non-essential controls like the radio or air conditioner. Boys are more likely to turn around and interact with people outside the vehicle, making them "hollaback boys." Girls are more likely to groom themselves (checking themselves before wrecking themselves – perhaps literally).
Also this: of the 52 drivers studied by AAA, 8 got distracted by reading while driving.
Kids love those Hunger Games.
[Image via Shutterstock]