Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Women Closing Gap in Risky Drinking, Driving

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Women Closing Gap in Risky Drinking, Driving

Article excerpt

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. -- Longitudinal data from a large national alcohol abuse survey suggests that the gender gap is narrowing with regard to drinking and driving: Women's rates of risky alcohol-related driving behaviors are actually increasing in some cases.

"The worldwide decline in alcohol-related traffic fatalities seems to have leveled off or reversed in recent years," said S. Patricia Chou, Ph.D., at the annual meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism.

A careful look at trends in drinking and driving patterns may help to explain why.

Some news was positive when Dr. Chou reported on data collected in 1991-1992 and then again in 2001-2002 as part of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a landmark, long-term survey of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Over the 10-year period, driving after drinking declined a remarkable 22%, from a prevalence of 3.7% down to 2.9% of the nationally representative sample of 43,093 people.

The decline was greatest (33%) among 18- to 29-year-olds.

Despite that trend, the number of Americans who drive after drinking is still high, "posing significant risks on America's roadways," she said.

The data showed the behavior peaked among 22- and 23-year-olds in 2001-2002, with the prevalence rates of driving after drinking at those ages of 11.5% and 10.4%.

The study highlighted several potentially worrisome patterns over time.

More 21- and 23-year-old females were driving after drinking in 2001-2002 than they were in 1991-1992. …

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