Study: Female drunk drivers on the rise - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Study: Female drunk drivers on the rise

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, MADD president Laura Dean-Moody, and Fairfax County, Virginia police Capt. Susan Culin held a press conference along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 19, 2009. Credit: Mark Walz/CNN Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, MADD president Laura Dean-Moody, and Fairfax County, Virginia police Capt. Susan Culin held a press conference along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 19, 2009. Credit: Mark Walz/CNN

By Paul Courson
      
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Arrests for women driving under the influence jumped by nearly 30 percent during the decade ending in 2007, according to a study released Wednesday by the U.S. Transportation Department. 

"To be honest with you, I was certainly surprised about that statistic," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at a news conference.

However, women continue to be outnumbered by men by four to one.

Laura Dean-Moody, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told reporters "Women are unfortunately picking up some of the same terrible, reckless behaviors that men have exhibited."

The report, authored by the FBI for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, found a declining number of men arrested for similar alcohol-related violations.

The numbers were compiled from national law enforcement records covering 1998-2007.

Moody said the report does not explain why women are increasingly driving while impaired, but speculated, "Women are under more pressure. They're now perhaps the breadwinner with the unemployment rate." She also added that "TV shows have made it look hip or cool to be a mom that stays home and drinks."

The findings were part of the launch of a Labor Day law enforcement campaign entitled "Over the Limit, Under Arrest." 

Describing what's intended to be a nationwide effort, Fairfax County, Virginia police Capt. Susan Culin said "we'll be making more traffic stops, writing more tickets, conducting more sobriety checkpoints, and DUI saturation patrols, and we'll be arresting any driver we determine to be impaired."

Moody, whose husband was killed in 1991 by a drunk driver, cited statistics that suggest two million drivers with multiple alcohol convictions will be on the road during the Labor Day holiday.

Criticizing a court system that has allowed such drivers to keep their licenses, Moody said "these are people who have proven not once, not twice, but three times that they are not worthy of the public's trust when it comes to operating a vehicle."

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta
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