More Women Driving Drunk

In 2008, drunk drivers killed nearly 12,000 people on the nation's roads.  More women than ever are at fault.
in 2008, drunk drivers killed nearly 12,000 people on the nation's roads. More women than ever are at fault.
CBS

In Long Island, New York, law enforcement put volunteers to a driving test -- knowing they'd be sure to fail.

"I wasn't comprehending really what he was saying," said volunteer Liz Augner.

That's because they were all legally drunk, with blood alcohol levels above .08 percent.

Police wanted to demonstrate the effects of drinking and driving.

Last year, drunk drivers killed nearly 12,000 people on the nation's roads. Alarmingly, more women than ever are at fault.

Read the full study here

"Roughly 2,000 fatalities a year involve an impaired woman, impaired women driver. This is clearly a very disturbing trend," said Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation.

While men still outnumber women by 4 to 1 in DUI arrests, statistics show, when drunk women cause fatal car crashes, they're more likely to have a passenger in the car. And more likely than men to have a child under 14 with them.

"Women unfortunately are picking up some of the behavior that men have exhibited," said Laura Dean-Mooney, MADD National President.

More about MADD

Last month, Diane Shuler killed herself and 7 others when she drove her minivan the wrong way for nearly two miles before plowing into another car. Five children were in her car. Police say she was both drunk and high on marijuana.

There is no data on why more women are drinking and driving, but signs point to lifestyle changes.

"Women are under more pressure. They're now perhaps the breadwinner with the unemployment rate," said Dean-Mooney.

Whatever the reason, law enforcement officials are launching a campaign to stop the deadly consequences. They're spending $13 million nationwide to drive home the message: if you're over the limit, you're under arrest.

  • Michelle Miller
    Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is the co-host of "CBS This Morning: Saturday." As an award-winning correspondent based in New York, she has reported for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. She joined CBS News in 2004.