Skip to main content

Trust girls more behind the wheel? Not so fast

Don't be so quick to toss your teenage daughter the keys to the car. A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reveals that the gender gap is closing when it comes to underage drinking and driving.

The study compared the accident rates of impaired teenage drivers from 1996 to 2007. Sixteen years ago, guys were four times more likely than girls to be in a fatal accident while impaired. By 2007, they were making equally bad decisions – both male and female teens with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.1 per cent were 80 times more likely to get in an accident than their sober peers. That's the kind of gender equality that gives moms and dads even more grey hair – and more years as the designated driver on weekends.

And while parents may just be waking up to the fact that little girls can be made of sugar, spice and a six-pack, insurance companies in the United States have already begun taking a closer look at younger female drivers. According to industry estimates, premiums for teenage boys are about 25 per cent more than those for girls, while two decades ago boys paid about twice as much as girls.

Story continues below advertisement

But it's not just alcohol that makes a teenage girl a potential hellion on wheels – the combination of iPhones and lip gloss is also a recipe for trouble. Another study, this one from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found that teen girls are twice as likely as boys to talk on cellphones, text or groom themselves while driving.

"Boys have earned a reputation as being more dangerous behind the wheel," Stephen Wallace, a senior adviser at Students Against Destructive Decisions, told U.S. News & Reports.

"Anecdotally, parents may be paying more attention to boys' driving behaviour than girls' driving behaviour, so girls might be losing out on some of that [safe driving]training."

Do teenage girl drivers now worry you as much as teen boys behind the wheel?

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter