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Increasing Numbers of Women Driving Drunk in Tennessee and Nationally

Most people may guess that men more frequently drive under the influence of alcohol then women. Although this is currently the case, new data indicates things are changing. The number of women arrested for DUI in Tennessee and across the country is on the rise.

According to FBI statistics, men still represent over 75 percent of DUI arrests nationally. However, a comparison of data from 2001 to 2010 indicates that the amount of female drunken drivers rose by almost 36 percent, while the number of males driving drunk fell by 10 percent.

Tennessee mirrored the national trend. Between 2001 and 2010, drunk driving arrests for women rose by 23 percent, while DUIs for men declined by almost 19 percent, according to data from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Men, however, still represented over 75 percent of the state’s 24,164 DUI arrests.

AAA responded to this news by recently issuing a press release cautioning women about why females reach the legal intoxication level faster than men. Obviously body size is a factor, but beyond that women’s bodies have less of the enzyme that serves to metabolize alcohol, and a larger percentage of body fat and less water in comparison to men.

According to AAA, “Just one 16-ounce frozen margarita or a few cocktails can easily cause the average-sized female who drinks during a two-hour time period to reach the .08 blood alcohol limit quicker than a man.”

Information provided by AAA and other organizations may lead to more awareness of the issue among women.

Source: The Commercial Appeal, “It’s a sobering fact: More women are driving drunk,” Beth Warren, Feb. 5, 2012.

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