The Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada has just released the results of a study, “Female Drunk Drivers: A Qualitative Study History and Experiences in the System.” The study reports that, since 1998, the number of women arrested for DUI has risen 28.8%.
According to the FBI, in the 1980’s, under 10% of all DUI arrests were women but since then, the number has risen to 25%.
One of the most worrisome factors involved in female drunk driving is that women are combining prescription medications with alcohol. The study found that 75% of all women arrested for DUI were taking at least one prescription for anxiety or depression.
Medications like Valium, Prozac, Klonopin and Xanax can be lethal when mixed with alcohol and they most certainly affects someone’s driving ability. Xanax is sedating and when mixed with alcohol, a depressant, can cause lack of coordination, mental fogginess and drowsiness. In fact when Xanax and alcohol are mixed, the user can cause extreme cognitive and physical impairments.
Women reported that they had experienced a traumatic event in their life prior to their DUI arrest including divorce, loss of a job or a death in the family.
The mixing of alcohol and prescription drugs is a huge factor of why we have seen women involved in wrong way car accidents. Female DUI offenders are more likely than male offenders to also have a substance abuse problem or to be using alcohol with medications.
Are women drinking more than ever? Washington State University professor Jennifer Schwartz says that women may not be drinking any more but they are driving more.
Women and Men Metabolize Alcohol Differently
Studies show that women and men metabolize alcohol differently. Compare two people, a man and a woman both weighing 140 pounds. If they both drank two drinks in one hour the man would measure a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.38 while the woman’s level would be .048.
Women get drunk faster than men because of their smaller body size, higher levels of body fat as well as hormonal differences. Men also have a higher concentration of water in their body, around 61% compared with 52% for women.
Washington state like the other states in the U.S., have set a DUI limit of .08%. However, a DUI level of .06-.08% lowers a person’s inhibitions and at this level of alcohol in the system, a driver’s abilities are already impaired. With a BAC of .06-.08%, a driver’s balance, speech, reaction time, information processing and vision will be affected. A BAC of .08-.100% increases a driver’s risk of being involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident by 10 times.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunken driver and the family of those who have been killed. Our personal injury law firm in Bellevue, Washington has more than 30 years experience working with clients to insure their rights are protected. With our help, you may recover compensation for your losses including medical costs, loss of wages and compensation for pain and suffering.
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