Surprising Increase in Arrests of Women
There is new data available showing changes in drunk driving arrest patterns for both men and women across the state of Michigan. At the recent Michigan Traffic Safety Summit, information was shared by Erin Holmes, a research scientist with the Traffic Injury Research Foundation in Ottawa, Canada, that showed a surprising increase in women arrested for drunk driving in the last decade.
One of the contributing factors, Holmes feels, is the changing workforce. “You see more women who are in the workforce these days, so women are driving more miles and driving at night when they are more likely to be arrested for drunk driving. It’s also more socially acceptable for women to drink in public than it used to be – particularly young women.”
Another factor is relationship issues. Holmes’ study showed that many DUI arrests for women are preceded by a relationship difficulty, such as an argument with a partner, a bad breakup or a divorce.
Mike Stratton, a substance abuse counselor in East Lansing, says that “Women metabolize alcohol differently than men do and they do it in such a way that they’re going to get more intoxicated more quickly. If you take a 150-pound woman and a 150-pound man, and you give them both the same amount of alcohol, the woman will be at a higher blood-alcohol content than the man would be.”
But according to the Michigan Office for Highway Safety Planning, while the number of arrests has increased for women, drunk driving crashes as a whole have decreased for both men and women in Michigan. During the 2003 to 2012 time period drunk driving crashes went from 11,400 to 7,250 for men, and from 3,203 to 2,563 for women.
“Drunk driving arrests are actually down right now.” says Sgt. Perry Curtis, head of the Michigan State Police’s Alcohol Enforcement Unit since 2000. “The numbers have steadily decreased over the years. When I started this job, we arrested a little over 62,000 people. In 2012, we were just a little over 37,000,” However, he did point out that the number of women arrested has increased.
Recent FBI statistics for the nation as a whole differ slightly from the Michigan drunk driving stats. According to the most recent FBI statistics released on drunk driving incidents, more women are being arrested for drunk driving as well as for causing more alcohol-related deaths since 2003. Additionally, the numbers show that between 2003 and 2012, the annual DUI arrests of women have increased from 174,000 to 211,000, which is an increase of 21% nationwide. However, DUI arrests for men have dropped from 780,000 to 650,000 – an almost 17% decrease nationally.
The Kronzek Firm attorneys are pleased to see the decrease in drunk driving arrests overall. The best legal advice we can give anyone is to never get behind the wheel and drive if you have been drinking. We also know that even the best legal advice is sometimes not enough. If you, or someone you care about, needs the help of a skilled attorney after being charged with drunk driving, we stand ready to assist.