New Statistics Shed Light on a Startling New Trend
Over the years, there have been numerous studies on the intersection of gender and traffic safety. Research has shown that men are more likely to be killed or injured in an auto accident than women. As researchers point out, male drivers tend to engage in risky behavior when behind the wheel of a vehicle, such as speeding or not wearing a seat belt. However, a recent study focusing on the major cause of car crashes now shows that women are outpacing men when it comes to this particular behavior and is leading to more and more female deaths. Current data shows that women are consuming a staggering amount of alcohol, and that is not only leading to serious, and sometimes deadly health issues, but it’s causing great concern when it comes to traffic safety.
Women Consuming Alcohol at an Alarming Rate
A large study was conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, and it shows deaths rising dramatically among women due to alcohol-related causes. According to the research, from 2007-2017, alcohol-related deaths among men rose 29 percent while it rose 67 percent among women. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found even more alarming numbers. Their research indicates that alcohol use disorder increased 87 percent for females between the years of 2002-2013. What’s even more disconcerting is that drinking among pre-teens and teenage girls has also risen.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse points to research from NIAAA that shows a narrowing gender gap when it comes to girls drinking at an early age. Male teen drinking used to significantly surpass female teen drinking between the eighth and 12th grades, but the most recent research shows that gap has been lessening for nearly two decades. Alcohol use and, in some cases abuse, is not only leading to more health issues for women, but those researching this issue note that more women are driving under the influence of alcohol, putting themselves and others at risk of injury or death as a result of an alcohol-related traffic accident.
Drunk Driving Remains a Major Issue but Colorado Sees Improvement
The non-profit organization, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), has been sounding the alarm concerning the issue of drinking and driving since 1980. MADD has been leading the fight for more stringent laws and consequences for those caught drinking and driving. Despite MADD’s ongoing efforts, 29 people are killed in an alcohol-impaired crash in the U.S. every day.
If you look at statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than two decades of research shows just how prevalent alcohol-related vehicle crashes have been over the years involving both male and female drivers. IIHS statistics also support the most updated research that shows more women are being killed in car accidents due to alcohol. Though the fatalities are not as high as they were in the mid-1990s, since 2009, female drivers under the influence are dying at a higher rate with 2016 seeing more than 5000 women killed in vehicle crashes.
MADD is also closely following drinking and driving trends across the U.S., and the organization has a detailed map highlighting what states are doing to curb this dangerous trend. Colorado had 161 deaths due to drunk driving in 2017, which equated to 27 percent of the fatalities that occurred on Colorado roads last year. However, MADD does give credit to the state for its work with those convicted of drunk driving. Colorado is one state that will shorten driver’s license suspension for those convicted if those drivers install an ignition interlock device immediately after conviction. MADD says that one action has decreased drunk driving deaths in Colorado by 19 percent.
Regardless of gender, drinking and driving is a serious issue that leads to thousands of deaths every year. Please take precautions if you plan on going out and having a drink or two. Even a little alcohol can impair your ability to drive safely; nearly 20,000 did not heed the warning last year, and the results were deadly.