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Why are more women driving drunk?

Woman are catching up to men in an unfortunate area — drunk driving. While drunk driving has been declining overall in recent decades, the number of women being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is rising.

The majority of drunk driving arrests still involve men (about 75 percent). However, the 25 percent of DUIs involving female drivers represents a 15 percent increase in less than 40 years.

While many people associate drunk driving with men, according to the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, "women are unfortunately picking up some of the same terrible, reckless behaviors that men have exhibited."

What are some of the leading reasons for this shift? There are many. Following are several key factors.

Increased stress. Women are increasingly having to deal with careers, raising children and being wives. They may be caring for aging parents and family members as well. Alcohol is a common stress reliever, so it's not surprising that as their lives become more hectic, more women turn to liquor. When they do, they may discover that it also helps them deal with bad break-ups, unreasonable bosses and any number of other difficulties.

A changing role in the workplace. The three-martini lunches of the Mad Men era aren't as common as they once were. However, when they occur, women are more likely to be at the table. They're also more likely to be at the bar with their male or female colleagues after work or on business trips.

Biological factors. Women are generally smaller and lighter than men. They also tend to have lower-fat diets. All of this can cause alcohol to have a faster and greater effect on their bodies. A few glasses of wine at dinner may seem to have little or no impact on your husband or boyfriend, but can seriously impair your ability to drive if you're a woman. (Of course, neither of you should get behind the wheel.)

If you've been involved in a crash that was caused by a drunk driver, it's important to know that the driver can face civil legal consequences as well as criminal ones. An experienced attorney can help you seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses and damages.

Source: Breathe Easy Insurance Systems, "Troubling Trends: Women and Drunk Driving," accessed Sep. 01, 2017

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