Image Women safer drivers according to new analysis
Image Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

A total of 1,886,503 penalty points have been handed out to motorists in Ireland over the past 10 years, with men receiving by far the larger share!

It’s been a long-contested and debated subject but the results are in and it seems like women are indeed the safer of the sexes when it comes to driving.

At least that’s according to newly launched online insurer MissQuote.ie whose recent analysis of penalty points as published by the CSO shows that male drivers in Ireland have been consistently ‘outperforming’ their female counterparts when it comes to the number of penalty points they receive.

With female motorists in Ireland having received only half the number of penalty points of their male counterparts over the last decade you would think that the numbers don’t lie...

However you can take a closer look at the data below to help make up your mind.

A decade of penalty points

The new analysis from MissQuote.ie looked at the number of penalty points incurred by male and female drivers over the past decade and showed that female drivers received around half the number of penalty points picked up by male motorists; a total of 669,157 points versus a whopping 1,217,346 for the men.

What’s more, the latest year-to-date statistics for 2020 haven’t done much to change the trend with men clocking up a total of 34,431 points from January to April, while female drivers incurred 16,587 in the same period, or less than half as many.

Interestingly, 2010 was the year when male drivers were issued with the most penalty points (174,312), while female drivers received 73,706 in that same year.

Female drivers picked up the fewest number of points in 2018 with only 50,460, while this was also the ‘best’ year for male motorists, even though the number of points still remained high at 98,993.

Speaking about their analysis, Deirdre McCarthy of MissQuote.ie said:

I think it’s fair to say that these figures show that women are more cautious and compliant on our roads. Year on year men continue to ‘outperform’ women when it comes to incurring penalty points. 

An analysis of the figures over a decade (2010 – 2019) illustrates that women drivers in Ireland have received a total of 669,157 points, while men have been hit with a whopping 1,217,346 – or 88% more.

See the total number of points from the last decade in the table below.

Men

Women

2020 (YTD)

34,431

16,587

2019

108,023

55,095

2018

98,993

50,460

2017

102,125

56,142

2016

105,382

62,461

2015

132,467

78,450

2014

122,808

73,397

2013

111,415

65,859

2012

125,785

74,478

2011

136,036

79,109

2010

174,312

73706

Total

1,217,346

669,157

Reasons behind the numbers

While insurance experts have said the reason for the gulf is unclear, driver behaviour is an obvious factor with speeding being the number one reason why both men and women receive points on their respective licences.

Driving a vehicle while holding a mobile phone was also the second most common reason for incurring points for both, while using a vehicle without an NCT certificate and driving without reasonable consideration made up the top three for women and men respectively.

Insurance experts have also cautioned people against attributing the extraordinarily high number of penalty points for men as a result of women being underrepresented on the roads, as this is not the case.

As of 2019 there were 1,542,538 licenced male motorists on Irish roads, representing 53% of all drivers, and 1,364,654 female motorists, representing the remaining 47%.

McCarthy went on to say:

There has been a consistent gulf over the last decade between the numbers of points received by men and women. There’s no denying that men and women behave differently on the roads, and this is evidenced by the fact that while the top two reasons for incurring penalty points are the same for both genders, namely speeding and driving while using a mobile phone, the following three vary.”

Whether you’re male or female, employing safe driving behaviour on our roads is absolutely crucial, and incurring penalty points will hit you financially when it comes to renewing your car insurance policy. Depending on the insurer, points could typically cost you up to €250 extra in premiums, while other insurers simply won’t quote for drivers who have more than a certain number of points. Motorists are rewarded for good driving behaviour by the way of lower premiums for No Claim Bonus discounts and not having penalty points.

Take a look at the top five reasons for incurring penalty points below.

Penalty point offence

Females

  1. Speeding
  2. Driving a vehicle while holding a mobile phone
  3. Using a vehicle without an NCT certificate
  4. Driving without reasonable consideration
  5. Fail to obey traffic lights

Penalty point offence

Males

  1. Speeding
  2. Driving a vehicle while holding a mobile phone
  3. Driving without reasonable consideration
  4. Using a vehicle without an NCT certificate
  5. Fail to obey traffic lights

All is equal in love and insurance

While the data suggests that female motorists are driving more carefully, this doesn’t necessarily mean their insurance premiums will automatically be lower.

An EU ruling that came into effect at the end of 2012 now outlaws gender-based pricing in the insurance market. In other words, all other things being equal, insurance companies must charge the same price to both men and women for the same insurance products, regardless of gender.

The so-called gender equalisation ruling applies to all new contracts for insurance products in the EU, including life insurance, annuities, as well as car insurance.

Furthermore, as a result of gender neutral pricing, insurance companies cannot turn away business based on your gender. This is why it’s possible for men to be able to get a quote from websites like MissQuote.ie or its4women.ie, even if their advertising focusses solely on women.

However, while insurance companies cannot price discriminate on the basis of gender, they can do so when it comes to other factors such as how old your car is, what licence you hold, your no-claims bonus, and your address for example. And of course, the number of penalty points you have can still be taken into consideration when calculating your premium, which means many women drivers should be paying less for their insurance than men! 

It’s also important to note that the Central Bank recently announced a ban on ‘loyalty penalties’ for car and home insurance customers. The new changes could impact your insurance premiums, so it’s best to make sure you’re fully informed about what’s happening.

Take a look at our insurance guides

If you’re looking for more information, we have a range of different insurance blogs and guides that will help you navigate the car insurance world. Consider taking a look at the following: 

You can easily stay up to date with all the latest car insurance news and discover more top tips with our blogs and guides.

Let’s hear from you!

What do you think of the latest data? Do you think insurance premiums are priced fairly? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Alternatively, you can always get in contact with us with any questions. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.