Skip to main content

More women held for driving while intoxicated, study finds

  • Story Highlights
  • Arrests of women driving drunk rose 30 percent from 1998 to 2007
  • Fewer men were arrested for such violations, though they still outnumber women
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving president speculates about increased pressure
  • Law enforcement cracking down over Labor Day holiday
By Paul Courson
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Arrests for women driving under the influence jumped by nearly 30 percent during the decade ending in 2007, according to a study released Wednesday by the U.S. Transportation Department.

DUI arrests for women are up 30 percent, but men still outnumber them four to one, a study found.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood discusses the study at a news conference Wednesday.

"To be honest with you, I was certainly surprised about that statistic," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said at a news conference.

However, when it comes to drunken driving arrests, women continue to be outnumbered by men by four to one.

Laura Dean-Moody, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said that "women are unfortunately picking up some of the same terrible, reckless behaviors that men have exhibited."

The report, authored by the FBI for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, found a declining number of men arrested for similar alcohol-related violations.

The numbers were compiled from national law enforcement records covering 1998-2007.

Moody said the report does not explain why women are increasingly driving while impaired but speculated, "Women are under more pressure. They're now perhaps the breadwinner with the unemployment rate."

She also added that "TV shows have made it look hip or cool to be a mom that stays home and drinks."

The findings were part of the launch of a Labor Day law enforcement campaign called "Over the Limit, Under Arrest."

Describing what's intended to be a nationwide effort, Fairfax County, Virginia, police Capt. Susan Culin said, "we'll be making more traffic stops, writing more tickets, conducting more sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols, and we'll be arresting any driver we determine to be impaired."

Moody, whose husband was killed in 1991 by a drunken driver, cited statistics suggesting that 2 million drivers with multiple alcohol convictions will be on the road during the Labor Day holiday.

Criticizing a court system that has allowed such drivers to keep their licenses, Moody said, "these are people who have proven not once, not twice but three times that they are not worthy of the public's trust when it comes to operating a vehicle."

All About Drunk DrivingU.S. Department of Transportation

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print