According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics, drunk driving rates have shifted towards the female population by approximately 15 percent over the past three decades. In the early 1980’s, drunk driving arrest rates were 90 percent male and 10 percent female. By 2011, the rate of drunk driving arrests had shifted to 75 percent male and 25 percent female.
Many safety experts understand that in order to reduce the rate of drunk driving accidents, our society must understand why the demographics of drunk drivers are shifting among gendered lines. Some suggest that women are driving more frequently, while others insist that it has become increasingly socially acceptable for women to drink substantial amounts of alcohol in public.
Some even suggest that the uptick in female drunk driving arrests is rooted in the substantial pressures women face within society to be all things at all times. The pressure to be a perfect employee, wife, mother, friend, community member, etc. can inspire women to drink in order to take the edge off.
A new study recently released by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation indicates that the latter reason most accurately explains why more women are drinking and driving. Overwhelming pressure to conform to certain roles in certain ways can lead to self-destructive behavior like drunk driving.
Whatever the reasons are behind the uptick in female drunk driving, it is imperative that safety experts begin to target female drivers in various prevention and educational campaigns. Failure to address this spike in drunk driving behavior will likely only lead to its continued prevalence.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “DUI demographics point to higher mix of women,” Ted Gregory, Sep. 12, 2013