Drunk Driving Increasing Among Young Women

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A new study finds that young female drivers in fatal crashes are more likely to have been drinking than their male counterparts.

The Study

A look at data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the number of female drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents increased from the years 1995-2007, while the rate among young men decreased. Dr. Frederica Vaca and his colleagues looked specifically at the data on alcohol-related crashes and found that 1.2% of young men involved in fatal crashes had a positive blood alcohol test compared to 3.1% of women.

What Does This Mean?

Although the majority of drunken drivers in the United State are men, the proportion of young women involved in fatal car accidents who had positive blood alcohol tests is greater than among men--and increasing. This indicates a growing problem with young women and alcohol, particularly those between the ages of 19 and 24. The national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Laura Dean-Mooney, expressed little surprise at these findings. "Young women in particular turn to drugs and alcohol to cope and to feel like a part of the crowd or lose their inhibitions," she said. "The scary thing is that many women are driving drunk and they are killing or injuring families, including their own children."

Since most drunk drivers are men, they are often the focus of messages against drinking and driving and heavy alcohol use. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that women are not immune to irresponsible alcohol use, and their battles are just as serious, albeit quieter.

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