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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Women Aren’t Getting The Word On Driving Under The Influence

Two different studies were published recently that show a disturbing trend for women in the US. The two studies, the FBI annual Crime in the United States Report and AAA's Consumer Pulse report on Alcohol Awareness by Gender show that women are getting arrested for DUI at a much higher rate compared with men and teens. The AAA report shows gender attitudes towards alcohol use while the FBI report shows raw figures on the arrest rates for DUI in the US.

The FBI crime statistics for 2010 show that arrests for DUI are the second most common type of arrest in the US after arrests for drug possession. While more men were arrested for DUI than women, a comparison of arrests show that, comparing the year 2010 to 2001, DUI arrests among men have gone down by 10.7 percent while arrests of women have increased by 36 percent.

Even teens seem to have gotten the word. DUI arrests for males under the age of 18 have gone down by more than 47 percent compared to 2001, while the arrest rate for teen girls has gone down by 18 percent. Overall, teen DUI arrests have gone down by 42 percent compared to 2001.

The rates hold true when comparing the 2009 rates to 2010. Between 2009 and 2010, DUI arrests of males decreased by 2 percent and teen DUI arrests decreased by 10 percent. DUI arrests for women increased by 3.3 percent between 2009 and 2010.

The authors of the AAA Consumer Pulse report said;

“The rise in women driving while intoxicated may be due to many influences including a greater social acceptance of women drinking, more venues that cater to women’s only happy hours, and increasing social or work functions that may trigger pressure to drink. While nearly four out of five consumers (79%) think it is more socially acceptable for women to drink now than compared to 20 years ago, 30 percent of consumers do not think women process alcohol differently than men.

Interestingly, the majority of consumers are not aware women can become intoxicated faster than men because women have a higher concentration of body fat (65%) or that variations in hormonal levels can cause women to become intoxicated faster (68%). Just one 16-ounce frozen margarita or a few cocktails can easily cause an average-size female who drinks during a two-hour time period to reach the .08 blood alcohol limit quicker than a man. While amounts will vary by person, it’s important to understand it may not take much alcohol to become legally impaired."

AAA stresses the importance of having a plan A for a safe ride home anytime someone goes out to have an alcoholic beverage since it’s uncertain how alcohol will affect a person at any given moment.

AAA Reminds Women to be Aware of the Following that Can Affect How They Process Alcohol:
  • Amount of body fat versus muscle can impact how alcohol is processed in women
  • Variations in hormonal levels can cause women to become intoxicated quicker than they normally would
  • Men's bodies are equipped to dilute alcohol more efficiently than women because women have less water content in their bodies than men
  • Women process alcohol slower than men because women have lower concentrations of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol

Additional Findings from AAA's Consumer Pulse™ Survey:
  • 12 percent of men said they drink alcoholic beverages daily, equal to the 11 percent of women who said they drink daily
  • 28 percent of men said they drink alcoholic beverages 2 to 3 times a week, compared to 18 percent of women who said they drink alocholic beverages 2 to 3 times a week
  • In the past 12 months, 13 percent of men said they have been concerned for a female friend and/or family member's safety who seemed to be intoxicated

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