Gen Z is Last Alphabetically but First for Bad Driving

Driver-on-Phone-300x200A recent study by Lending Tree addressed the generational differences in bad driving.  The study analyzed the rates of driving incidents in four categories among five generations:  Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation.  The study report explains Generation Z has the worst rates among all generations for all categories.


The Research
Lending Tree provides consumers with quotes for auto insurance, so the company has access to a lot of data.  For the study, researchers analyzed “tens of millions” of insurance quotes from 2023.  To obtain a quote, a consumer provides information about their prior DUI convictions, auto accidents, and traffic citations.  The consumer also provides their date of birth.

By having the driving histories and birth dates, the researchers were able to associate rates of driving incidents with generations.  They defined the generations, according to ranges from the Pew Research Center, as follows:

  • Generation Z:  born 1997-2005 (18 to 26 in 2023)
  • Millennial:  born 1981-1996 (27 to 42 in 2023)
  • Generation X:  born 1965-1980 (43 to 58 in 2023)
  • Baby Boomer:  born 1946-1964 (59 to 77 in 2023)
  • Silent Generation:  born 1928-1945 (78 to 95 in 2023)

The Results
The researchers divided their analysis into three categories:  DUIs, accidents, and citations.  They also synthesized the data in a combined category of ‘driving incidents’.  Gen Z topped each category.  The results are summarized in the following tables.


Rank Generation DUIs per 1,000 Drivers
1 Gen Z 2.17
2 Millennial 1.59
3 Gen X 1.01
4 Baby Boomer 0.53
5 Silent Generation 0.26


Rank Generation Accidents per 1,000 Drivers
1 Gen Z 30.25
2 Millennial 14.22
3 Silent Generation 14.03
4 Baby Boomer 12.64
5 Gen X 11.96


Rank Generation Citations per 1,000 Drivers
1 Gen Z 23.62
2 Millennial 10.24
3 Gen X 7.11
4 Baby Boomer 5.23
5 Silent Generation 4.02

Driving Incidents

Rank Generation Incidents per 1,000 Drivers
1 Gen Z 49.07
2 Millennial 25.13
3 Gen X 20.45
4 Baby Boomer 19.44
5 Silent Generation 19.05

The Reality
It really is no surprise that Gen Z, the youngest drivers, have the highest rates of accidents, traffic citations, and driving incidents.  As Lending Tree’s Rob Bhatt stated, “Young drivers need time to gain familiarity in how to operate a vehicle and learn how to deal with the various hazards that can unexpectedly arise on a road or highway.  Younger people, in general, are also often more likely to engage in risky behavior than older individuals. Some researchers tie this to our prefrontal cortex, which isn’t fully developed until a person reaches their mid-20s.”

It also comes as no surprise the Silent Generation had the lowest rates of DUIs.  The data came from 2023, when those drivers were ages 78 to 95.  It would be interesting to see what the DUI rates were for those drivers when they were ages 18 to 26.  It is a bit surprising Gen Z and Millennial drivers have the highest rates of DUIs, as those generations have been exposed to anti-drunk driving campaigns and have had access to ride-sharing programs.

The Rates
Of the categories analyzed by the researchers, DUI convictions (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) have the most significant impact on auto insurance rates.  A DUI conviction causes premiums to increase by an average of 80%.  For a driver charged with DUI, it is possible to avoid a conviction and the associated insurance rate hikes.

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