Apparently someone’s winning the so-called battle of the sexes these days, though not in the way some would prefer. Based on a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), male drivers are more likely to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol than female drivers. As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, we can add that that with a higher rate of men driving while intoxicated that this portion of the population likely has a higher incidence of DWI arrests.
While it is true that not everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car, truck, motorcycle or watercraft when legally intoxicated is arrested and charged with drunken driving, it is also true that of those who are caught with a 0.08-percent or greater blood-alcohol content (or BAC) are sometimes surprised that they received a summons for DWI.
Similarly, with police enforcement of anti-drunk driving laws, a percentage of these arrests involve individuals accused of being impaired by doctor-prescribed medication (drug DUI) or even illicit drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana. These DUI cases arise from many of the same circumstances as DWI police stops; of course, both types of arrests can also occur at any of the dozens of DWI roadblocks and drunken driving checkpoints held every year in the Garden State.
As for the CDC’s report, nationwide, men are as much as four times more likely to get behind the wheel of a car or truck after having more than one drink than their female counterparts. According to news reports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that this trend applies as much to residents of New Jersey as well as other states; verified by our own state’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety, local statistics indicate that 80 percent of fatal DWI traffic accidents involve a male driver.
The CDC’s report reveals one fact that may explain the preponderance of men being on the receiving end of a drunken driving summons. On the whole, according to news articles, men tend to drive father and more often than women in general. And while this basic fact doesn’t necessary explain the difference in the rate of DWIs, research has apparently shown that males are far more likely to be involved in so-called risky behavior in many facets of life, not just driving under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor.
This trend, among others may explain why once again New Jersey residents will see a greater police presence on the state’s highways and surface streets as the New Jersey law enforcement community takes part in national anti-drunk driving campaigns, such as “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiated here last August. That particular anti-DWI effort focused on young male drivers who may take to the road while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The CDC report — which names drunken driving as a threat to everyone who travels the nation’s roadways — shows that adult drivers admitted to drinking and driving more than 100 million times in the year ending December 31, 2010. As part of that overall figure, 85 percent of DWI incidents were reported by individuals who qualified as binge drinkers.
What’s not particularly surprising to DWI defense lawyers such as ourselves is that four out of five drivers who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence are, in fact, men. According to news reports, while instances of drinking and driving have, over the past five years, decreased nationwide by about a third, alcohol-related traffic deaths still account for one out of every three fatal car crashes. Statistics show that nearly 11,000 traffic deaths across the country in 2009 were directly related to alcohol consumption.
Other facts provide by the CDC include:
— Men made up 81 percent of the drunk drivers on American roadways in 2010
— Young males (aged 21 to 34 years) were responsible for 32 percent of all DWI instances; however this group only represented 11 percent of the United States’ adult population in 2010
— Eighty-fire percent of drinking and driving episodes were reported by binge drinkers; those individuals who consume a large number of drinks in a short time period (five or more drinks for men; four or more for women)
— Seat belts reduce serious injuries and deaths from crashes by almost 50 percent
— The minimum legal drinking age law prohibits selling alcohol persons under 21 years old in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. By maintaining this law and enforcing it vigorously younger, more inexperienced drivers may be kept from drinking and driving
— Ignition interlocks (ordered by courts for some people convicted of DWI and DUI) prevent a driver from operating a vehicle if he or she has been drinking. Lawmakers believe that greater use of interlocks for convicted DWI offenders would be effective in reducing DWI re-arrest rates by about 60 percent
Men more likely than women to drink and drive, NJ.com, November 03, 2011
Drinking and Driving: A Threat to Everyone, CDC.gov, October 2011