DUI statistics point to higher mix of women

As a watchdog of DUI court cases, Cathy Stanley has noticed the trend for over a decade — more female defendants standing in front of judges.

Statistics as well as a report scheduled to be released Thursday support her observation. Research shows that while the number of male drivers arrested for DUI has seen declines since 1995, the number of female drivers arrested has been rising.

In 2011, the latest year FBI statistics were available, DUIs by female drivers accounted for nearly 25 percent of all DUI arrests, compared with about 10 percent in the early 1980s.

Stanley, a former addictions counselor who since 2007 has supervised the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists’ court watchers in Cook and surrounding counties, said that spike has its roots in societal changes. The multiple demands of career, mother, home manager, community volunteer and related roles became particularly acute in the recession, she said, and continue during the current, sluggish economy.

And, that career component, Stanley said, is a notable contributor to the higher female DUI arrest numbers.

“We’ve had women alcoholics for a long time,” she said. “Now, more of them are working and so we’re seeing more of them on the roads.”

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