Former Miss USA Rima Fakih.
Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih (pictured) is among the women arrested for drunk driving in the U.S. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Alexander Vaughn/Flickr)

Volumes of literature illustrate that driving while intoxicated is incredibly dangerous under nearly all circumstances. It’s an equal-opportunity killer, too. A recently released study by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation indicates that drunken-driving arrests among women have increased significantly over the past few years.

Female DWI up 36 percent over the last decade

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation study notes that DWIs have increased among women by an alarming 36 percent over the past decade. In tip of the iceberg fashion, what is equally disturbing is the fact that the increase in drunk driving arrests has been high among older women who are better educated than the average male who commits a DWI offense. Also, DWI cases among women who are primary caregivers to young children are way up.

Study spurred by accident

Not surprisingly, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation study was triggered by the horrific 2009 DWI accident by mother Diane Schuler. Schuler drover her minivan down the wrong side of a New York highway, causing a crash that killed herself, her daughter, her three nieces and three men in the opposing car. Toxicology reports indicated that Schuler was drunk and high.

That extreme case shined a needed spotlight on the problem of parents drinking to excess while caring for children. However, as experts suggest, the popular perception may still be that what Schuler ingested before driving versus the two glasses of wine many suburbanites enjoy before getting behind the wheel with their kids in the car are two very different things. While that may be true to an extent, the danger that even mild intoxication can cause behind the wheel should be avoided.

Confessional for alcoholic mothers

Parenting blogger and comedian Stefanie Wilder-Taylor recognizes that child-rearing stress can lead a parent to reach for an alcoholic beverage on occasion. Her blog Baby on Bored includes a confessional area where parents can discuss their problem drinking.

Wilder-Taylor’s blog has garnered such attention that she has been asked to come to Washington, D.C., to join in the commentary regarding the Traffic Injury Research Foundation report.

“I exaggerate when I’ve had a bad day and say things like, ‘I want to drink my body weight in alcohol,’ and it’s funny. Except it stopped being funny. I can control myself some of the time, which is why it’s been so easy to rationalize why I continue to drink.”

Rima Fakih and what not to do

Former Miss USA Rima Fakih, 26, who attracted attention last year for competing in high-profile gown and swimsuit competitions despite the fact that she is a Muslim, was recently apprehended by Detroit, Mich., authorities after driving drunk. According to the Associated Press, Fakih’s blood-alcohol was more than twice the legal limit. A open, half-empty bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne was found on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat of the black 2011 Jaguar Fakih was driving at the time of the arrest.

Detroit police officer R. Kalis, who stopped the Lebanon-born Fakih, reported asking for her driver’s license and being told by Fakih that she was “Miss USA,” and that she was “driving a friend’s car.”

Fakih denied drinking the night of the arrest. Reports indicate she was unaware that the champagne bottle was open. Currently, Rima Fakih still holds the 2010 Miss USA title.

Women and drunk driving

Sources

Baby on Bored: http://stefaniewildertaylor.com/category/dont-get-drunk/

Massachusetts DUI Attorney blog: http://bit.ly/rH0U7b

The Republic: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/703b96b944ff4dcfaffd84f482073a76/US–Miss-USA-Drunken-Driving/

Traffic Injury Research Foundation: http://bit.ly/sqxkcn

Washington Post: http://wapo.st/rKg92L

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