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New TIRF Report: Female Drunk Drivers: A qualitative study – History and Experiences in the System

Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)’s 2011 review of the literature about female drunk drivers revealed increases in arrests among women for DWI as well as important gaps in knowledge pertaining to their profile and characteristics, experiences in the criminal justice and treatment systems, and the types of strategies and interventions that are most effective with this population.

To address these gaps and increase understanding of this problem, TIRF conducted a follow-up exploratory case study in 2012 that involved multiple cases that were drawn from four states (California, Michigan, Missouri and New York). The design of this hypothesis-generating study included interview focus groups with more than 150 female offenders representing diverse backgrounds and experiences in the system. It also involved interviews with 36 experienced practitioners representing different phases of the criminal justice and treatment systems.  

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Create a foundation that could inform the development of much needed research initiatives as well as prevention efforts and effective interventions tailored towards female drunk drivers.  
  • Explore the life histories of convicted female drunk drivers and the ways that their history may contribute to their offending.
  • Examine women’s experiences in the criminal justice and treatment systems.
  • Explore the experiences of criminal justice and treatment professionals in supervising this offender population.

The report summarizes the different profiles of female drunk drivers that emerged from the study, and contains recommendations to improve the delivery of services to this population in the criminal justice and treatment systems.

The report was created with input from seasoned professionals who have played a leadership role in their respective fields or who have been intimately involved in the female drunk driver issue. Funding for this initiative was graciously provided by The Century Council.

Hard copies are available upon request. Please note minimum shipping and handling fees may apply.


For more information, please contact:


David Bird
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