A New Study Suggests the Risk of a Car Accident with a Female Drunk Driver Is Rising


October 03, 2013

Many people stereotype men as the most likely DUI offenders based on images of men going out to a bar after a day at the worksite/office or driving home from a sporting event enhanced by the consumption of beer.  However, these stereotypes are proving as dated as those of men as the primary breadwinner in the home because an increasing number of women participate in the workforce on a full-time basis.   A new study conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada indicates that as more women travel to and from work and face the stress of the workplace, drunk driving accidents caused by female drivers may rise.

The study found that the number of female drivers arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol has increased by almost 29 percent during the last fifteen year period.  The results of the study reinforce data gathered by the FBI that indicates the percentage of DUI arrests that involve female drivers has increased by 150 percent during the last two decades.  For every DUI arrest, there is now a one in four chance that the drunk driver is a female motorist according to the FBI. 

This trend is even more disturbing because women are more likely to combine alcohol and prescription medications when operating a motor vehicle according to the Canadian research team.  According to the study, three in every four women arrested for alcohol-related DUI offenses tests positive for some form of prescription drug.  Most of these drugs are designed to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety or depression so they have an adverse impact on driving ability and increase the risk of a car accident.  Medications like Xanax®, Prozac®, Valium® and Klonopin® can cause significant adverse impact on cognitive and physical abilities that impair driving ability.  This effect is intensified when these prescription medications and alcohol are mixed.

The authors of the study indicate that they do not attribute the rise in DUI arrests of women to increased alcohol consumption by women, but instead they speculate that it is related to more women participating in the workforce.  The improved job opportunities for women means that women are spending more time behind the wheel during work commutes.  Women also are subjected to the same pressures and stresses associated with the workplace that have historically motivated many men to drink. 

According to the researchers, women are at greater risk of becoming intoxicated when they consume alcohol prior to driving.  Women generally have a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) based on a number of physiological factors:

  • Women generally are smaller so they become intoxicated faster.
  • Men have a higher concentration of water in their body so alcohol in the blood is more diluted.
  • Women typically have a higher percentage of body fat than men.
  • Differences in the hormones of men and women also contribute to a higher BAC in women.

Although women may be more susceptible to having their driving ability impaired by alcohol consumption, any driver who drinks and drives puts others with whom the motorist shares the road in danger.  Because our Atlanta DUI accident attorneys regularly see the tragic consequences of drunk driving, we urge anyone who has been drinking to use a designated driver or arrange for alternate transportation.

If you or someone close to you is injured or a loved one dies in an Atlanta drunk driving accident, call 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) to speak with a Georgia accident attorney at Montlick and Associates. We are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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