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Related topics: insurance, auto insurance, insurance companies, liability insurance, traffic tickets

Old stereotypes peg women as dangerous drivers, but statistics show the reality: When it comes to driving, guys are much naughtier. And insurance rates reflect that.

We can't say that all males are reckless when they drive. Nor can we say that all females are safe drivers. But numerous studies show that males are more likely than females to throw caution to the wind when on the road.

"Maybe the testosterone makes them more aggressive," jokes Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute. "But the fact is, the industry doesn't go by whether you have higher testosterone. It goes by numbers, and the numbers seem to support that men are generally more reckless than women."

Scofflaws

Sorry, boys, but statistics show that you break traffic laws more often than females.

Quality Planning, a company that validates policyholder information for auto insurers, conducted a study that concluded males are at least 50% more likely to be cited for reckless driving, seat belt violations, speeding, failure to yield and stop sign/signal violations. To be more specific, the company analyzed an entire year of policyholder information in 2007 and found that males were cited for reckless driving 3.41 times as often as females.

 
Traffic violations
ViolationsViolation ratio, males vs. females
Reckless driving3.41-to-1
DUI3.09-to-1
Seat belt violations3.08-to-1
Speeding1.75-to-1
Failure to yield1.54-to-1
Stop sign/signal violations1.53-to-1

"We were not surprised to see that men have slightly more -- about plus 5% -- violations that result in accidents than women," says Raj Bhat, the 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 (insurance) claims than those caused by women."

The study also found that female drivers were about 27% less likely to be found at fault when involved in an accident.

Cruising and boozing

Males also drive drunk more often than females. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, males outnumbered females 4-to-1 when it came to driving under the influence. This is based on a study of DUIs from 1998 to 2007. However, the same study found that while more males have been busted for driving impaired, DUI arrests for males had decreased by nearly 20% during the study period, while they had increased by more than 14% among females.

 
Females' DUIs up 14.3%
YearDUIsDrivers% with DUIs
1998126,11991,875,4390.14%
2007162,493103,276,9090.16%
 
Males' DUIs down 19.7%
YearDUIsDrivers% with DUIs
1998676,91193,104,7380.73%
2007626,371102,464,9360.61%

Quality Planning's study found that males are 3.09 times as likely to drive under the influence of alcohol as females.