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An Age-Old Question -- Who Drives Better, Men or Women?

Let's face it, men think they're better than women. And women think they're better than men. Take driving. Admit it men, save for Danica Patrick, would you admit that any woman can drive better than you?

And ladies, as you watch your man bob and weave and scream at traffic, deep down you know you're a better drive than him, don't you?

So who drives better, men or women? There is no way to truly answer this question. It is just too subjective. But cold, hard statistics aren't subjective. So let's take a look:

According to data provided over the first half of 2008, reports that 68% of women have no traffic violations versus 64% of men. Of those reporting violations, 30% of women have 1–3 traffic violations versus 33% of men, and 2% of women have 4+ traffic violations versus 3% of men.

"All the evidence points to young males having riskier driving habits than young females. Men between the ages of 16 and 25 are much more likely to be involved in accidents, or be cited for traffic violations," explains VP, Sam Belden.

Another study is bad news for guys. According to TrafficSTATS, a risk analysis study by Carnegie Mellon for AAA in 2007, men have a 77% higher risk of dying in an accident compared to women. The study, using information from both the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the National Household Travel Survey estimated fatalities per 100 million trips to be 14.61 for men and 6.53 for women. The total number of fatalities between 1999 and 2005 were 175,094 for men and 82,371 women.

But men could use a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to beef up their argument. It says 14,512 male drivers died in 2007 compared to 5,865 female drivers, but that's mostly because there tend to be more male drivers on the road than females.

"Men take more risks behind the wheel than women, and so men are more likely to get into serious crashes," says Anne McCartt, the institute's senior vice president of research. "We don't have any way of comparing their driving abilities, but on the likelihood of getting into a serious crash in which someone dies, men win handily."

On the flip side, IIHS also reported that from 1975 to 2007, female deaths in motor vehicle crashes increased 1 percent compared to an 11 percent decline for male motorists during that same period. IIHS attributes this to "increased exposure" with more women licensed now than in the past.

A study by a group called Quality Planning also has women on top. The conclusion was that men break more traffic laws and drive more dangerously than women.

"We were not surprised to see that men have slightly more violations — about 5 percent — that result in accidents than women," said Raj Bhat, president of Quality Planning. "And because men are also more likely to violate laws for speeding, passing and yielding, the resulting accidents caused by men lead to more expensive claims than those caused by women."

Okay, so women are safer drivers than men, but does that necessarily make them better? Apparently not in merry old England. A poll out of the British International Motor Show finds women think men are better drivers than they are.

Fifty-eight percent of the 1000 women surveyed say men are more confident drivers. But 47% say they are more considerate than men to other motorists and passengers, while 38% think they are safer drivers.

Kirsty Adams, organizer of the show, told the Daily Mail, "I am disappointed that women still think men are better drivers but I think the gap is closing."

So Opposing Views asks: Who are the better drivers?



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