There are now more women with driving licences than men in the US for the first time, according to a new study.
US-based researcher Frost & Sullivan says women now hold 51 per cent of driver’s licences in the US across all age groups.
The study shows Canada and the UK are set to follow suit by 2016. The percentage of female licensed drivers in the UK has climbed to 49.95 per cent in recent years, while women in Canada are also on the verge of claiming a majority.
The number of new driving licence applications lodged by UK women has increased 2.5 per cent over the past three years, while those submitted by men have decreased.
The research revealed women already make more trips and drive longer distances than men in the UK.
Local statistics show the shift is occurring in Australia as well. The percentage of female licence holders in New South Wales has increased every year over the past five years. As of March 31, women held 48.7 per cent of driver’s licences in the state.
Women are also more influential in vehicle buying decisions than ever before, impacting 80 per cent of all vehicle purchases.
Frost & Sullivan partner and global director Sarwant Singh said this influence was having a marked impact on the vehicles produced by car makers around the world.
“Women prefer small and more manoeuvrable vehicles, but they also give importance to design, spaciousness, safety, quality of materials, colour and sustainability,” Singh said.
“They like options like park assist, clear lighting for petrol, easy access, integrated systems for mobile devices and entertainment. We are convinced that in a few years women will favour cars with advanced systems such as autonomous driving, digital assistants and other health, wellness and well-being features.”
Singh said the increased power of women behind the wheel could be attributed in part to higher numbers of women receiving education and a smaller gap in the salaries of men and women in both developed and developing countries.
The effect of the empowerment of women on the automotive industry will be one of the focuses of Frost & Sullivan’s Urban Mobility 3.0 workshop in London on June 25.