Among young women, the rate fell by 0.8 accidents per 100,000 people for 16-year-olds and remained the same for 17- and 18-year-olds. But it increased 0.7 per 100,000 among 19-year-olds and 0.6 per 100,000 among 21- to 24-year-olds, Vaca's group found.
In addition, among those involved in fatal crashes, the proportion of young men (1.2 percent) who had a positive blood alcohol test was less than the proportion of women (3.1 percent), the researchers noted.
The greatest increase in fatal car accidents was among those with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 g/dl or more. Among women, this rose 2 percent, compared with 2.4 percent among men.
But the increase in the proportion of young people involved in fatal car crashes who had positive blood alcohol tests was greater among women than men, regardless of when the accident occurred.
Weekday alcohol-related accidents among women rose by 3.5 percent, and weekend accidents rose 2.2 percent, compared with a 1.5 percent increase weekdays and 0.4 percent on weekends among young men, the study found.
"The scary thing is that many women are driving drunk and they are killing or injuring families, including their own children," Dean-Mooney, of MADD, said.
Dr. Judy Schaechter, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that "there may be a loss of the notion of what it means to be feminine."
More women are drinking now, she said, and "we know that alcohol reduces inhibitions and increases risky behavior, whether that's driving aggressively, driving recklessly, not wearing your seat belt or having unsafe sex."
Schaechter said that she thinks messages about drunken driving need to be directed specifically toward young w
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