A new report by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation found that nearly three times as many women are being arrested for DUI than they were just 25 years ago.
According to the report, female drivers make up about 25 percent of all DUI arrests. That number has steadily rose since the 1980s, when women accounted for only about nine percent of DUI arrests.
Criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman said he’s not surprised by the report.
“We’ve noticed an uptick in the number of females we represent in drunk driving cases over the last few years,” said Appelman. “Men still make up the majority of DUI cases, but it’s not by as significant a margin as it was in years past.”
Why the Increase?
The study paints a broad picture of why females are getting cited for DUI at a higher rate. It revealed that three types of women are at a greater risk for getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. They are:
- Younger women who drink to “fit in”;
- Recently married women who drink in order to deal with loneliness that sets in after their child is born; and
- Older women or “empty nesters” who drink in order to cope with death, divorce, or a child leaving home.
While not every woman who gets a DUI falls into one of the three categories, the study revealed that the vast majority of women who got a DUI said the arrest followed a significant stressful event in their life, like death, divorce, or a breakup.
“Regardless of sex, one of the ways people deal with stress is by turning to alcohol,” said Appelman. “As women are taking on more responsibilities both inside and outside of the house, it makes sense that their lives are becoming more stressful.”
The foundation noted that of the 200 women they surveyed for their study, more than half of them were single, separated or divorced. The report stated that the increase was also due to the fact that more female drivers were on the road than in years past.
Even though more women are being ticketed for DUI, there hasn’t really been an uptick in the number of fatal alcohol-related crashes involving women. Statistics show that roughly 40 percent of males who died in a car crash were intoxicated at the time of the accident, compared to only 20 percent for female drivers. Those numbers have remained relatively consistent over the past 20 years.
Related sources: CBS Los Angeles, Chicago Tribune