Women now account for a larger proportion of DUI arrests, stats show

In the early 1980s, it was rare for a woman to be arrested on drunk driving charges. In fact, during that time female drivers accounted for a mere 10 percent of all drunk driving arrests. However, by 2011 – the latest year for which information is available – this percentage shot up to 25 percent, according to FBI statistics. Even more interesting, this increase in female DUI arrests occurred during a period of time in which the number of male DUI arrests actually declined. Consequently, several researchers have begun to question why more women are electing to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

One researcher, Jennifer Schwartz, an associate profession at Washington State University, recently told the Chicago Tribune that women are – contrary to what many may infer from DUI statistics – actually drinking roughly the same amounts as in years past. The only difference is that women are merely driving more, which corresponds to the increase in DUI arrests.

Unfortunately, this is a dangerous trend given the deadly hazards of drunk driving. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 9,800 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2011 in alcohol-impaired car accidents. Sadly, there were over 400 drunk driving fatalities in Pennsylvania alone during this period.

However, those that get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol need to be aware that laws exist that will hold them accountable for their selfish and careless actions.

Liability following a Pennsylvania drunk driving accident

Even though an intoxicated motorist will likely face criminal charges following a Pennsylvania drunk driving accident, the victims of the drunk driver may also seek damages for their injuries in Pennsylvania civil court. For example, victims can ask the court to award compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.

If, tragically, the drunk driving accident results in fatalities, the victims’ families can also file a wrongful death suit seeking damages to cover lost future earnings, funeral expenses and loss of companionship, among other damages. While these damages in no way can compensate the families for the loss of a loved one, they do make the subsequent financial obligations easier to deal with.

Also, it is important to note that Pennsylvania has Dram Shop laws that make it possible to hold bars and taverns liable in instances in which they over-serve customers and the customers subsequently get behind the wheel and injure third parties. Specifically, Pennsylvania law states that licensees, such as bars, can be liable to third parties if they sell or furnish alcohol to a customer that is “visibly intoxicated” and the customer later injures the third party.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, it is often important to speak with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can review the facts of your case and help determine who may be liable given the circumstances.