Every holiday season, we like to remind folks that while holiday parties can be fun, they aren’t without risk. We were on Capitol Hill today with the Congressional STOP DUI Caucus in attendance and focused our annual holiday event on female drunk driver arrest rates.

Over the last decade, female drunk driver arrests have increased 36% (FBI, Crime in US 2010). Impaired driving has long been perceived to be a predominantly male-based problem. In an effort to learn more about the magnitude of the female drunk driver problem, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility commissioned a report, State of Knowledge: Female Drunk Drivers (executive summary and final report), and released it at its annual holiday education event which included a panel discussion. Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today Consumer Reporter and “Confident Consumer” Columnist, moderated the event and panel members included:

Robyn Robertson, President and CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)
• Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, blogger and best-selling author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay and Naptime is the New Happy Hour
• Assistant Chief Patrick Burke, DC Metropolitan Police Department
• Kurt Erickson, Washington Regional Alcohol Program

The panel members spoke on the issue from their own areas of expertise and attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions in an open Q&A session following the close of the panel discussion. To put this issue into perspective, hardcore drunk drivers are still responsible for an overwhelmingly disproportionate share of the fatalities on our nation’s roads – 70%. Today’s panel and the release of the report– serves to guide those of us in the traffic safety field to continue to look at all aspects of the drunk driving problem and to apply attention to areas that need it most.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility wants to remind everyone to stay safe this holiday season. Look for Safe Rides in your community (use SoberRide if you're in DC) and make smart choices.