Study on Female Impaired Driving Offenders

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), with sponsorship from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, completed a 2011 review of the literature about female drunk drivers. Although males constitute a significant portion of the impaired driving problem, there is evidence of a growing number of arrests among females, and incremental increases among female drivers testing positive for alcohol in fatal crashes in some jurisdictions in the U.S. This suggests that women are an important part of the problem and warrant attention.

To build upon this work, in 2013 TIRF conducted a series of case studies designed to close knowledge gaps in relation to this issue. It consisted of a multi-faceted design that includes interview focus groups with over 150 first and repeat offenders and 36 key informant interviews with justice and treatment professionals in four U.S. states. Findings suggest some different profiles of female drunk drivers. In addition, results regarding their attitudes toward and experiences in the justice and treatment system provide insight into opportunities for improvement. Renewed efforts to examine this issue are essential to ensure that women are subject to effective and appropriate interventions. In addition, TIRF created an useful infographic that summarizes the results of this study.

Collectively, the results of these studies clearly demonstrate the importance of focusing efforts to begin to better understand this problem and to develop more effective strategies both to prevent and manage it. Also of importance, they shed light that can inform future research initiatives.

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