In 2010, men were responsible for four out of every five DUI arrests in the United States. Only a year later, research indicated a sharp increase in the number of women arrested for drunk or drugged driving, especially in California and Los Angeles County.
According to a recent study conducted by KPPC Southern California Public Radio, women made up about 24% of all California DUI arrests in 2011, when the most recent DUI statistics were released. In Los Angeles County, nearly 10,000 women were arrested for drunk driving. Research shows a steady uptick in in the number of female DUIs since 1998 and 2011. On the other hand, the number of men arrested for drunk driving has gradually decreased to approximately 30,000 in the Los Angeles area.
Even still, the volume of male DUIs far outweighs the number of women arrested for drunk or drugged driving across the state.
Women Over 50 Contribute to DUI Increase
Statistics show that DUI arrests for the number of women between 51 and 60 years old escalated by 81% between 1998 and 2011. Arrests for women 61 to 70 years old rose by 67%, and arrests for women over 70 years old climbed by 76%.
Conversely, men were arrested for DUI less often in California and LA County, except for men between the ages of 50 and 70 years old, who saw a slight increase in DUIs.
Law Enforcement Learns to Spot Drunk Drivers
Researchers have only guessed as to why more women are being arrested for drunk driving. One possible explanation is that law enforcement is better and identifying drunk drivers than it used to be. DUI arrests overall in California increased by 8% in 2011, mostly due to public awareness and a serious crackdown by police agencies.
In recent years, police have become perceptive to prescription drug DUI, which is responsible for a large percentage of DUI arrests involving women. According to California law enforcement, women are more likely to mix prescription drugs and alcohol than men are. As cops develop better methods to identify prescription drug impairment, the number of women arrested for DUI with drugs is likely to increase.