DUI Arrests Up Among Women

August 20, 2009

Nationwide, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, both police and traffic safety organizations are seeing an alarming rise in the number of drunk-driving (DUI – DWI) arrests among women. In Pennsylvania, the offense is known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), while in New Jersey it is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

According to FBI figures, across the U.S. the number of women arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs rose 28.8 per cent from 1998 to 2007. Conversely, the number of men arrested for DUI during that same time period decreased 7.5 percent. While reports show that men still drink more than women and are still responsible for more DUI cases, the disparity is narrowing.

There are three reasons cited for this change: (1) women are driving more due to increased pressure at work and home, often times economic in nature, (2) younger women feel more equal to men and, therefore, behave in unconstrained fashions, and (3) police have become less likely to let women "off the hook".

It is not only the east coast of the United States that struggles with drunk driving matters. In California, women accounted for 18.8 percent of all DUI arrests in 2007, up from 13.5 percent in 1998, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

One federal study on women and alcohol defines abusing alcohol as having at least four drinks in a day. This same study shows that in the 10-year period ending in 2002 the overall number of women who admitted to abusing alcohol rose from 1.5 to 2.6 percent. For women aged 30 to 44, however, the number of those abusing alcohol more than doubled, going from 1.5 percent to 3.3 percent in that same 10-year period.

These trends have not gone unnoticed by the federal government. The Transportation Department's annual crackdown on drunk driving begins in late August and will focus on women.

Most of our Bucks County DUI clients still remain males, but there are a significant number of women who we represent. Of the women that Saile & Saile LLP has represented for DUI in Bucks County, PA, most are between the ages of 25 and 45 years old.


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