For those women who are striving for greater equality between the sexes, women are definitely gaining on men in one key area: arrests for drunken driving. According to a Chicago Tribune story, women are racing to catch up to men in DUI arrests, who still greatly outnumber women.
With this gap still in place, how is equality making a change? The number of arrests for men is declining, while the number of arrests for women is steadily rising. As Gail D’Onofrio, chairwoman of the emergency medicine department at Yale School of Medicine stated, “We’ve come a long way, baby, and this is not a good way.”
U.S. Department of Justice crime statistics show that throughout the nation, the number of women arrested for DUI increased by 28.8 percent between 1998 and 2007. The number of men arrested for the same reason dropped by 7.5 percent.
Industry experts point to such issues as more binge drinking among younger women and structure enforcement applied more often to women drivers as contributing to the trend. Cultural change has also put more women on the road and into more roles of responsibility.
Henry Kranzler, associate scientific director of the Alcohol Research Center at the University of Connecticut noted that police today are less lenient on women than they have been in the past. At the same time, some men might be changing their behavior in response to increased punishments and greater societal disapproval in the last 10 years.
Insurance industry data shows that in 1963, 40 million motorists were women, accounting for 43 percent of drivers. Today, more than 88 million women are licensed drivers, nearly half of all drivers in the U.S. The culture and trends are changing; prevention methods will have to change too in order to make a measurable impact.