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More Women Driving Drunk as Crackdown Begins

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By Caleb Groos on August 20, 2009 2:00 PM

FBI statistics show that arrests of female drunk drivers have risen by almost 30% between 1998 and 2007. Though drunk driving is still dominated by men, the same time period saw a decrease in males arrested for it.

Yesterday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off a nationwide crackdown on impaired driving. In particular, he drew attention to the rise in arrests of female drunk drivers over the past decade.

According to the FBI's numbers, in 1998, 126,119 women were arrested for driving under the influence. By 2007, that number grew to 162,493. On the male side, the number of drunk drivers arrested shrunk from 676,911 to 626,371 (about a 7.5% decrease).

Some states experiencing an uptick in the number of women driving drunk have begun educational campaigns, such as the "Women drive drunk too" campaign in New Mexico.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a research bulletin regarding the numbers of fatalities involving a drunk driver from 2007 to 2008. It shows the number of fatal crashes involving impaired drivers grew in 10 states between 2007 and 2008 -- for both male and female drunk drivers. However, in that same year, the total number of fatalities involving a drunk driver decreased 9.7% (to 11,773 deaths).

From tomorrow through Labor Day weekend, the NHTSA is spearheading a nationwide crack-down on drunk drivers called "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest." All states and the District of Columbia, plus many local authorities, will participate. 11,000 police departments will be participating.

According to the NHTSA, 40% of all traffic fatalities over last year's Labor Day weekend involved a drunk driver. The crackdown will include sobriety checkpoints as well as increased patrols, along with a large media campaign to educate drivers.

According to the Governors Highway Association, August and September are the most deadly months for drunk driving.

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