Tulsa, OK- In the past, the large majority of people who were arrested for driving under the influence were men. Over the past three decades, the number of men who drink and drive has decreased while the number of women who face DUI charges is steadily increasing, and new study sought to find out why.

Data from the FBI shows that in 2011, women accounted for 25 percent of DUI arrests across the country. That is a significant increase from the 1980s, when only 10 percent of DUI defendants were women, the Chicago Tribune reported.

A study conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) aimed to discover why more women are choosing to drink and drive. Researchers for the study interviewed 200 women who were charged with DUI in California, Michigan, Missouri, and New York. They also spoke with counselors and people who work in criminal justice.

The researchers concluded that the changing roles that women play in modern society and social norms play a major role in the number of women who drink and drive.

In 2013, women play similar roles to men; they are often primary breadwinners and are heads of their household. Women feel the same pressure to have careers and families that men do, and all of this pressure drives them to find an outlet. For some women drinking is a good outlet.

On the basic level, the increasing DUI arrest among women is in part due to the fact that more women are driving. They work outside of the home more so now than in the past so there are more women on the roads. But there are deeper reasons for the rise in DUI arrests for women.

According to the TIRF study, women develop their drinking issues later in life and problems with their drinking problems develop more rapidly than men. They also often encounter some sort of “major life stressor” just before they are arrested and have psychiatric problems that accompany their drink.

The women who participated in the study had higher levels of education but held low wage jobs. The tended to single, divorced or separated and are the primary caregivers of their children. They are also more likely to have suffered abuse and have mental and physical health needs.

Women who are convicted of DUI are also more likely to complete their supervision and treatment programs. The TIRF researches suggested that treatment programs could be catered to help women better deal with emotional problems and provide childcare services.

“The results of this study,” TIRF reported, “clearly demonstrate the importance of focusing efforts to begin to better understand this problem and to develop more effective strategies both to prevent and manage it.”

Regardless of the DUI arrestee’s gender, the penalties for driving under the influence are the same. If convicted, an offender could face incarceration, loss of their driver’s license and fines well into the thousands.  The ramifications of a DUI arrest can be devastating to a single mother, but a Tulsa DUI attorney understands this and will do whatever they can to keep a drunken driving charge from having too much of an impact on your family.