The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released statistics detailing alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes over 2007-2008, broken down by state and gender. The report serves as an important reminder that while recent high-profile cases have highlighted that the number of women arrested for drunk driving has risen over the past decade, drunk driving is still overwhelmingly a male problem.
The number of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes from 2007 to 2008 fell by 9% nationwide, 11% for females, 8.6% for males. This decline is roughly in line with the decline in the total fatal crashes over this period, most likely reflecting that there have been fewer drivers on the road due to a higher unemployment rate and lower consumer spending.
The majority of states had a downward shift in fatal crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. Thirteen states showed no change or an increase in the number of male drunk drivers involved in fatalities, fifteen states showed similar results for females. Most of these states are smaller or less populous states that make up a small percentage of the national total of alcohol-related fatal crashes. Worryingly, drunk driving fatalities seem to have risen sharply in Oklahoma and Kansas.
Overall, female drunk drivers represented 15% of the total of alcohol-related fatal crashes in 2008, unchanged since 2007. The Century Council will continue to evaluate the data. We aim to eliminate all drunk driving on our nation’s roadways, regardless of gender.