FBI DATA SHOWS STEADY INCREASE IN FEMALE DUI ARRESTS
On behalf of Thomas Ward Martin at The Law Office of Thomas W. Martin, LLC
According to recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the number of drunk driving arrests among women has been rising steadily for the past three decades. In the early 1980s, the Los Angeles Times reported recently, women made up only about 10 percent of all arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol in the United States. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, nearly one in four DUI arrests involved a female driver.
The female DUI trend caught the attention of a Canadian nonprofit called the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. Noting the relative lack of data on intoxicated driving among women, the group sought to shed light on the subject by conducting a study of women arrested in the U.S. for DUI offenses. TIRF researchers worked with nearly 200 women in the study, using interviews, focus groups and surveys to gain understanding about the factors that may be at work when women drink and drive.
Experts Point To Stress And Societal Changes
Perhaps not surprisingly, TIRF researchers identified stress as the most prominent unifying factor among the women who participated in the study. According to the report, nearly all of the participants said their arrests had been preceded by a major stressor such as job loss, a death in the family or the end of a marriage. Mental health issues were another common theme among the women in the study, with about three-fourths saying they had been prescribed medication for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other related conditions.
Some commentators have suggested that the rise in DUI arrests among women may be driven by an overall increase in stress as women have taken on added responsibilities in the home, workplace and community. Meanwhile, other experts contend that the shift reflects changes in women's driving habits rather than their drinking habits, the Chicago Tribune reported. These scholars argue that women in the past consumed alcohol at similar rates to modern women but were much less likely to drive, resulting in lower DUI rates than those seen today.
Drunk Driving In Colorado
Colorado has some of the toughest impaired driving laws in the nation. As in the rest of the U.S., it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle in Colorado if the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) level is 0.08 or higher. However, Colorado law also provides that drivers can face criminal charges for driving with BAC levels as low as 0.05 if there is other evidence of impairment. Drivers convicted of intoxicated driving in Colorado can face steep fines and lengthy prison sentences, in addition to license suspension and other penalties.
To help guard against the negative consequences of a DUI conviction, people arrested for drunk driving in Colorado should make sure to get help from a qualified DUI defense attorney at their earliest opportunity.