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According to a new study by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, young women who drink and drive are increasingly at risk of being involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. The study reports that previously, young men were twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as women with the same blood alcohol level.  However, that “gender gap” has closed. The study’s lead researcher, Robert Voas, said that “young woman who drink and drive may be behaving more like young men who drink and drive,” and taking more risks on the road.

The study, published in the May issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, revealed that the risk of being involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents increased as blood alcohol levels rose. Drivers in the 16-20 year old age bracket with a blood alcohol level ranging from .02 to .049 were almost three times as likely as sober drivers of the same age to be involved in a fatal accident, and they were almost four times as likely to die in a single car crash.

The study also revealed that the incidence of fatal car accidents for sober male drivers doubled between 1996 and 2007. The researchers believe that distracted driving may be the cause of the dramatic increase. Eduardo Romano, co-author of the study, stated “Sober kids are more at risk, and we think it may be related to texting and the other new technologies they are using so much.”

Source: HealthDay, “Young women who drink and drive at higher risk of fatal accident,” April 3, 2012.