Study finds growing number of DWI arrests of women. Why?

Many readers would likely agree that gender equality in America has not been achieved on most fronts. However statistics from the FBI indicate that there is at least a measure of balance being realized when it comes to arrests for drunk driving.

The numbers indicate that since 2003, the number of women arrested for driving while intoxicated and of being responsible for alcohol-related deaths has gone up. And the increase is said to be noted consistently across the criminal justice system, from judges to abuse treatment practitioners. 

At least that’s what one researcher says. She looked at drunk driving arrests of females from several different U.S. jurisdictions, including Dutchess, Warren and Westchester Counties in New York. What she found, and what is reflected in the FBI statistics, is that arrests of females rose nationally by 21 percent from 2003 to 2012. Meanwhile arrests of men fell by nearly 17 percent.

Erin Holmes, a researcher with the Traffic Injury Research Foundation in Canada, says there may be several reasons for the rise. She says the number of women in the workforce continues to rise, meaning more women are on the road at night when drunk driving arrests are most likely. At the same time, she says more women are winding up going through the full justice system as jurisdictions scale back offender diversion programs.

Holmes cautions that her data shouldn’t be taken to suggest that there is some sort of explosion in female drunk drivers. She says all her figures show is that arrest numbers of women are on the rise. DWI arrests of men still far outweigh women.

Regardless of the gender distribution, the consequences that can result from a drunk driving arrest, such as the suspension of driving privileges, are equally serious for all. Enlisting the help of an experienced attorney is always recommended.

Source:, “Why are more women arrested for drunk driving? Number increases nearly 20 percent since 2003,” Jay Scott Smith, April 27, 2014

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