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DUI arrests for women on the rise

Driving under the influence is a serious problem in the United States. The FBI found that the number of men arrested for DUI dropped by 16.8 percent in the years from 2003 to 2012. The number of women arrested for DUI during the same period increased by 20.9 percent. Men do make up the majority of impaired drivers, but women's arrests are on the rise.

Erin Holmes of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation interviewed hundreds of women in the United States to find out more about this phenomenon. Holmes did not find any evidence that law enforcement officers were targeting women over men when it came to making arrests. Most often, a major life stressor precipitated the DUI. It could be the loss of a job, an argument with a partner or an illness in the family.

It is suggested that substance abuse issues in women are typically linked to stress or relationship problems. Many of the women in Holmes' study who had been arrested for DUI were single, divorced or widows. They did not have a good support system and were depressed.

Another theory is that women simply metabolize alcohol differently than men. Women are affected by alcohol quicker than men are. As the blood alcohol content limit has dropped, more women find themselves legally over the limit. Many times, women were arrested within a few blocks of their home.

According to Holmes' study, the number of women who admit to drinking and driving is about the same as it was 20 years ago, but the number of arrests have increased. Oklahoma law enforcement is making a concerted effort to stop drunk drivers, whether they are male or female. Because more women are on the road today than 20 years ago, it is simply a matter of math that more women are being stopped for DUI.

Women need treatment, not jail time

Holmes believes that women who are arrested for DUI have unique issues. Many are the sole caregivers or providers of their children. When domestic violence or trauma is a contributing factor to the DUI, women need comprehensive support and treatment. Women who drink and drive are not partyers, but trying to use alcohol to escape from the stress of life.

A person who has been arrested for a DUI in Oklahoma would benefit from talking to an experienced attorney. A DUI does have serious consequences which can affect women for the rest of their lives, so they should have an advocate who can help find the best possible outcome for each situation.

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