When Mommy Drives Drunk Part I: Why moms do it

The trend of Westchester and Hudson Valley moms driving drunk with their kids in the car is raising questions about what's behind the behavior.

Over the past year, 13 local mothers have been arrested for DWI with their children in the vehicle. A well-known recent case includes 44-year-old Anne Marie Ciarcia. She went out clubbing last September in Manhattan with her 16-year-old daughter and her daughter's friend, Emily Cornish. Ciarcia, who was drunk, got into a wreck that killed Cornish. She's now serving time for the crime.

A mother who is on probation for driving drunk with her 9-year-old son in the back seat in Hawthorne spoke to News 12, but wanted to remain anonymous. The woman crashed into a sign and passed out. Her blood alcohol level was 2.0, almost three times the legal limit. Almost two years after the incident, she still found it hard to talk about.

She was arrested and charged with DWI and endangering the welfare of a child in the incident.

"It's much easier to admit an alcohol problem than being in an abusive situation," the woman said of her way of coping with her abusive husband.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Harris Stratyner has been trying to figure out what drives women to the behavior that puts their children at risk.

"[They] might have a personality disorder ? bipolar disorder, depression, low self-esteem," said Stratyner. "Next thing you know, they're behind the wheel."The doctor also believes the daily stresses of financial and marital problems, in addition to women giving up their careers to stay at home, may be leading women to drink.

Whatever the cause, officials aren't cutting the mothers any slack. On Tuesday, News 12 will look at how counties are cracking down on mothers who drive drunk.

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