In the bars and restaurants of Honolulu, you may see tables where there are no men. Women have become more comfortable having a girlfriend’s night out, and leaving their men behind. This may be but one sign of women’s changing role in society. Women, also work more, and may feel the need to stop after work for a quick drink.
The consequence of this increased freedom of action may be an increase in the number of women arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). A recent study finds that in 2011, the number of DUIs involving females has increased to a quarter of all DUI arrests. In the 1980s, the number was 10 percent.
The percentage of drivers killed in car accidents involving intoxication has remained at about the same level since the early 1990s, with 40 percent of the fatalities men and 20 percent women. In general, a male driver is about twice as likely to be intoxicated as a female.
The study finds that many of the women arrested for a DUI have suffered a “major life stressor” and that may contribute to their use of alcohol.
On the other hand, the increase may be the result of the lowering of blood alcohol content (BAC) limits to 0.08, which may capture more women who have been stopped by the police. It may also be due to the fact that more women drive more, as they assume more roles outside the home.
The study suggests that treatment programs should be tailored to help women better deal with issues that cause stress and induce alcohol abuse.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “DUI demographics point to higher mix of women,” Ted Gregory, Sept. 12, 2013