Disturbing Story on Mothers and Drunk Driving

Remember that disturbing story about the drunk mother who caused a wrong-way crash that killed 8 people, including herself? How can we forget, right?

Unfortunately, she is not an anomaly in that women are drinking more and increasingly getting busted for drunk driving, according to a story in the Associated Press. Even more disturbing, women are more likely than men to drive with children in the backseat.

From AP:

Men still drink more than women and are responsible for more drunken-driving cases. But the gap is narrowing, and among the reasons cited are that women are feeling greater pressures at work and home, they are driving more, and they are behaving more recklessly….

Another possible reason cited for the rising arrests: Police are less likely to let women off the hook these days.

Nationwide, the number of women arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was 28.8 percent higher in 2007 than it was in 1998, while the number of men arrested was 7.5 percent lower, according to FBI figures that cover about 56 percent of the country. (Despite the incomplete sample, Alfred Blumstein, a Carnegie Mellon University criminologist, said the trend probably holds true for the country as a whole.)

“Women are picking up some of the dangerously bad habits of men,” said Chuck Hurley, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

In New York’s Westchester County, where Diane Schuler’s crash killed her and seven other people last month, the number of women arrested for drunken driving is up 2 percent this year, and officers said they are noticing more women with children in the back seat.

Yikes. What a sad and troubling trend.


5 thoughts on “Disturbing Story on Mothers and Drunk Driving

  1. Jezebel’s take

    It’s a longishpiece but a good read….

    Schuler’s actions were irresponsible, and they had terrible, tragic consequences. But do we need to brand her as a woman scorned? Do we need to subject her remaining family to our double outrage, for the crimes not only of driving under the influence but of being a bad mom? Of course, Diane Schuler bears the blame for the deaths of the children in her care. But by heaping extra shock on the situation because she was a woman and a mother, we only perpetuate the stereotype that there is a single kind of person who is an alcoholic. And we make it harder for men like Daniel Schuler to see the warning signs in people they love.

  2. I was just going to say “Jezebel”

    Also, I live in the Keys. Drinking and driving is so common here that it is nearly impossible to seat a jury for a DD case that does not include someone who has been CONVICTED of drunk driving. We got our first chapter of MADD in January of this year (only in the upper Keys) and if we are out past sundown, it is a matter of when, not if, we see someone with the driving pattern that indicates intoxication.

    It is an epidemic, and it is men, women, old, young, and all socioeconomic status that do it here. I love island life, but there are a group of Moms here that I do not socialize with much. I think they think I am judging them because I rarely, if ever, drink. A “girls night” for these ladies is bar-hopping and then doing shots at someone’s house to close out the night. And these are PTA moms, soccer moms, singing in the church choir at 7 a.m. on Sunday after closing down the bars in KW on Saturday.

    The whole point is anyone can get behind the wheel drunk. Anyone. If you are “buzzed” you are driving drunk. If you had “one” too many, you are drunk driving! It boggles my mind.

  3. forget “warning signs”

    Ok, against my better judgement I am weighing in about loved ones being able to “see warning signs”. Clearly many people with alcohol issues have plenty of outward signs and behaviors and it is often a contentious out in the open topic for the families.

    OTOH, it is totally possible that the alcohol abuse is 100% underground. Let’s not add another burden to those who live with this – “they should have known” kind of thing, or “how could they miss that?” Easily, actually.

    The NYT today quoted one of Diane Schuler’s neighbors who happens to be a substance abuse counselor. He said the “secrecy” of addicts is “astonishing.” Word.

    • Agree…

      I know someone in this situation and there is a lot of suspicion within friends and family but little certainty about what is really going on.  She is good at hiding it.

  4. i saw a little push back from the family-

    they were saying she didn’t drink, but come on.

    i’m wondering if it could have been the night before she was drinking, and maybe she didn’t have amything the day she died, what was left in her stomach from the night before started to hit her after she woke up?

    years ago a lady i work w/ was fired for being legally intoxicated at 9:00 or so in the morning- that’s when they did her alcohol test.  she drove 3 school trips, starting at about 6:30 am.

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