Historically, the drunk driving offender population has been predominantly male. However, drunk driving arrests involving females has been a source of growing concern since the late 1980s. Thirty years ago just 9 percent of those arrested for DWI were women. Since then the number of women arrested for DWI has dramatically increased – up 29 percent from 1997 to 2007. These statistics emphasize the need to better understand the increase in female DWI offenders and to accurately prioritize female drunk drivers in the context of the overall drunk driving problem.
The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) conducted research to summarize the current state of knowledge about drunk driving among female drivers. The objectives of the research were to describe the magnitude of the female drunk driver problem, the characteristics of these offenders, the current involvement of female drivers testing positive for alcohol in fatal crashes, and effective strategies that are available and being applied to manage this segment of the drunk driving population.
The study, State of Knowledge: Female Drunk Drivers (2011), revealed more females are entering the criminal justice system as a result of the increase in DWI arrests, while self- reported drunk driving and alcohol crash data involving females has remained stable for many years with only incremental changes. While female and male drunk drivers share some similar characteristics, they are different on some key attributes.
To learn more about female drunk driving offenders, their characteristics and involvement in fatal crashes, and how these offenders are managed in the criminal justice system in terms of sanctions and treatment, please view the Executive Summary and Final Report.