The study found that despite the fact that impaired young men were twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as impaired young women in 1996, the gender gap has closed and in 2007, young females had the same risk as their male counterparts.
Researchers used data from government reporting systems to compare blood-alcohol levels from fatal crashes in 2006 with results of a 2007 survey in which 6,800 drivers participated.
“Young women who drink and drive may be behaving more like young men who drink and drive,” says Robert Voas, the study’s lead researcher.
Despite the discoveries on risk, the frequency of young men involved in fatal alcohol-related accidents is higher. This can be attributed to the fact that men just drink more in general, Voas added.
More Shocking StatisticsThe study looked at a number of trends affecting young drivers’ risks of being involved in a fatal crash. The most obvious finding was the direct correlation between increased blood-alcohol levels and increased risk of experiencing a fatal traffic accident.
For young drivers behind the wheel, adding alcohol-impairment to the equation meant a 300 percent increased risk of being in a fatal crash. Likewise, the odds of a young driver being killed in a single-vehicle crash were four times higher when they had a blood-alcohol level of .02 to .049 – levels that are still well below the legal limit.
Perhaps the most shocking discovery was the fact that the risk of a fatal accident in sober male drivers had doubled from 1996 to 2007. However, it is safe to estimate that this trend stems from the increased use of electronic devices by young drivers.
The authors of this study suggest that drunk-driving and distracted-driving interventions and educational programs are necessary to curb the trends found in the research.
Drunk Driving Statistics
- In 2010, 170 people died in alcohol-related traffic collisions in Washington State – that’s approximately 1 fatality every 2.1 days.
- 37 percent of all traffic deaths in Washington State involved a DUI in 2010.