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New Jersey police may be watching for male drunk drivers


Men of New Jersey be forewarned: law enforcement may be on the lookout for you this holiday season. Why?

Apparently men are more likely to drive while under the influence than women. According to two studies, one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the other from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, men are statistically drinking and driving more often than their female counterparts.

There are a few hypotheses as to why this is the case. The disparity could simply be because men drive more often than women. If so, it makes sense that the number of men involved in alcohol-related incidents is greater than that of women.

Could the gap be caused by a more general likelihood to engage in "risk-taking behavior"? A New Jersey official believes that this could explain why the rate of men who are drinking and driving is higher.

While there is no conclusive research that definitively pinpoints one explanation, it may simply be a combination of several different factors that is driving up the rate for male drivers.

A national campaign directed at reducing the number of intoxicated drivers does seem to target men. The campaign, titled "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" has already begun in the state and will run throughout the upcoming holidays.

But is it possible for police officers to focus too much on male drivers? If the emphasis is on men suspected of drunk driving, law enforcement may make greater efforts to watch for men behind the wheel. This could prevent them from seeing female drivers who might be drunk driving and could actually widen the gap between the rate of men involved in alcohol-related incidents versus the rate of women.

Source: New Jersey Star-Ledger: "Men more likely than women to drink and drive," Nov. 3, 2011

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