Exploring the impacts of gender on car driving

Exploring the impacts of gender on car driving - Ifsttar - Les effets du genre sur la conduite automobile_img

© Joël Yerpez

Men and woman behave differently on the road. To better understand this state of affairs, IFSTTAR is addressing the concerns of the Délégation à la Sécurité Routière (Road Safety Commission) by setting up two major surveys on the effects of gender when taking the driving test.

Cars are an area where inequalities between men and women exist. These are reflected in road mortality statistics (men account for 75% of all accident fatalities) but also in access to a driving licence. The pass rate for women in the road test is 10 percentage points lower than for men. Marie-Axelle Granié, an IFSTTAR researcher in developmental social psychology and a senior researcher at LESCOT, hypothesizes the existence of a gender effect in order to understand these inequalities: "There is a stereotype that ascribes natural driving skills to men and belittles women. Exploring the effects of gender is an attempt to understand how these social expectations about driving determine driving behaviour”.


[We work well together as a couple] [I've bought a great sports car] [I've had a cushion fixed to the front to protect pedestrians]

The research conducted by LESCOT is a response to the Senate's recommendation in 2016 that the Road Safety Commission conduct studies in order to understand gender disparities as regards obtaining a driving licence. In 2018, two major surveys will be launched following preparatory work. A longitudinal survey will monitor a cohort of more than 1,000 individuals from when they first enrol in a driving school to when they take the road test. The aim is to understand whether stereotypes have an effect before training begins and whether the beliefs in question are reinforced during training. A second survey will be conducted among driving instructors to better understand if and how stereotypes are transmitted during training. Finally, the issue of gender and mobility is also of interest to economists: at the FUTURE I-Site, IFSTTAR's LESCOT laboratory and the EURUDITE team from the Université Paris-Est are joining forces in the framework of GAP ("Gender and Driving Licence Access"), a project exploring how gender inequality in access to a driving licence impacts access to jobs. A report on the results of these major surveys is expected at the end of 2019.

Transportation, mobility and security: a matter of gender?

A file coordinated by Marie-Axelle Granié on mobility as a gender issue is available in the Site and Society area on the IFSTTAR website. It presents a considerable amount of research on public transport, women drivers and risky behaviours, etc.