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WRECKS BLAMED ON WOMEN RISE IN MICHIGAN

Women are becoming involved in a greater percentage of auto accidents and drunken-driving crashes in Michigan, researchers at the University of Michigan reported Wednesday.

The researchers linked the increase in female-driver accidents to changing lifestyles, including increased economic independence."Women have entered the labor force in record numbers and the age of marriage has increased, so that many more are living independently," wrote study authors Patricia F. Waller and Fred C. Blow.

"These changes have been accompanied by increasing rates of driver licensure and vehicle ownership, reflecting changes in drinking behavior and increased driving exposure," they wrote.

The study, based on state highway figures, found the number of traffic wrecks caused by female drivers in Michigan increased 48 percent to 363,467 in 1990 from 317,195 in 1980.

Among men, the number of accidents on Michigan roads increased 15 percent during the 10-year period.

The study said women caused 39 percent of all accidents and 17 percent of alcohol-related crashes in Michigan in 1990.

Ten years earlier, the study said, women caused 33 percent of the state's traffic wrecks and 15 percent of those involving alcohol.