According to the most recent government statistics, men were arrested for drunk driving more than 75 percent of the time in 2011. Additionally, about 40 percent of drivers who were killed in car accidents while under the influence of alcohol during this time were men. This pair of statistics may lead you to think that drunk driving is primarily a male problem. However, recent statistics also point out that it is a growing problem among women.

In fact, statistics show that the number of women who have been arrested for DWI has increased significantly, while the number of men has declined since the mid-1990s. According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2011 DWI arrests among female drivers accounted for about 25 percent of total drunk driving arrests. Although this may seem like a small percentage, it has increased significantly since the 1980s, when women comprised only 10 percent of DWI arrests.

A recent study from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation offers an explanation for the increased DWI arrests among women. For the study, researchers spoke with counselors, substance abuse experts and other professionals within the criminal justice systems. In addition, approximately 200 female DWI offenders from various states were interviewed.

Findings of study

In short, the study found that the number of women arrested for DWI is increasing due to changes to women's roles, norms and control mechanisms in society over the past 10-15 years. The study's researchers pointed out that society's treatment of women has changed during this time, placing them in a role that has similar stress and pressure to ones that men had decades ago. In addition, the study found that women arrested for DWI typically have certain things in common such as:

· Having children, but being single, divorced or separated

· Having a "major life stressor" (e.g. job loss or family death) immediately before their DWI arrest

· A higher likelihood of having psychiatric problems or having experienced domestic abuse.

· A tendency to develop drinking problems late in life

In addition to societal factors cited in the study, the study also offered another explanation: the lowering of the legal limit. Traditionally, women who drank and drove were most likely to have a blood alcohol level just below the legal limit. However, when the limit was lowered from .10 to .08, this could explain why the number of women arrested for DWI increased.

Whether you are a man or women, a DWI conviction can result in steep fines, license suspension, mandatory use of ignition interlock devices and jail time. If you have been arrested for DWI, it is important to present a strong defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights and work to minimize the negative repercussions of the charges.

Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

Launch Video »